Are period trackers still safe to use?

However, the criminalization of raises legitimate concerns about the privacy of period trackers to a much higher level. Cybersecurity experts warn that data collected from these apps could potentially be used to punish anyone seeking an abortion if subpoenaed or sold to a third party.

This discussion also draws attention to how sensitive data collected in other tracking programs, loyalty apps, and even utilities can end up in the hands of data brokers.

The app stores are full apps that compromise your privacy. It was recently revealed that many apps that have access to users’ private data pass or resell it to so-called “data brokers,” who in turn sell it to advertisers and sometimes even to other entities and institutions, including enforcement and intelligence agencies. services.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you open a new website, there is a very short moment when the top is missing? Then it appears in an empty placeholder or by pushing down the page content. In that very short moment, the site negotiates with numerous advertisers who will bid for your eye based on the information collected about you. If this digital and very fast auction were to be turned into a real auction, it would be something like this:

Auctioneer: A middle-aged gay man lives in the suburbs of Frankfurt, , works in marketing, drives a WV Passat, owns a dog, goes on holiday to the Far East twice a year and, among other things, is considering a hair transplant.

Thousands of offers are made in a fraction of a second, and a hair transplant clinic in wins the spot. The user is shown a banner that they are likely to click.

The information provided by the auctioneer is actually much, much more than the extract above. Algorithms have evolved so fast that they can even predict shopping habits, marriages, divorces and illnesses.

However, period trackers and other health data applications collect one of the most intimate categories of information about their users.

Millions of people use these apps to track their period. Clue claims to have 12 million monthly active users. Flo, which claims to be the most popular period and cycle tracking app, has 43 million active users.

Last year, Flo settled with the US Federal Trade Commission over allegations that it misled users into disclosing their personal health information. In 2019, revealed in an investigation that the app notified when a user was menstruating or about to become pregnant.

Flo did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, but the FTC said the app must pass its independent privacy policy and obtain permissions before sharing personal health information.

The risks therefore vary from mild privacy problems to actual and prosecution.

As app privacy policies and user agreements become unreadable, users must consider other ways to protect their privacy and, in the case of new abortion laws, their true freedom.

One of the most practical ways to protect your privacy online is to use VPN services, which can mask your privacy by rerouting your Internet connection. Your IP address is a digital identifier on the web, and when used correctly, a VPN service makes you anonymous.

Paul Costner

Source: The Nordic Page

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