The privacy protections of period and pregnancy tracking apps are lacking, according to a new report

By TechThop Team

Posted on: 17 Aug, 2022

The majority of popular period and pregnancy tracking apps lack strong privacy protections, according to Mozilla researchers.

It is always a concern when health apps have leaky privacy policies, but issues that fall into this particular category are of particular concern now that abortion is illegal in so many places.

The use of period tracking apps and pregnancy tracking apps could theoretically allow prosecution of people who get abortions illegally.

Most often, the digital data used to link people to abortions comes from text messages, Google searches, or Facebook messages - not data collected from period tracking apps. It's still a risk.

Now that we are living in a post-Roe vs Wade world in the United States, companies that collect personal and sensitive health information need to be extra vigilant about protecting and safeguarding that information. According to Jen Caltrider, Mozilla's privacy guide lead, too many aren't.

In the study, 25 of the most popular apps and wearables with period and pregnancy tracking features were analyzed. In the report, most respondents didn't say when or if they'd share information with police.

Mozilla issued warning labels to 18 of the 25 apps about their privacy practices, including Clue Period & Cycle Tracker and Eve, two of the top cycle tracking apps on the Apple App Store.

Mozilla is concerned about the apps' privacy policies, as well as how they collect, share, and protect user information.

Wearable devices included in the analysis did not receive warning labels, however. In addition to period tracking features, Garmin, Fitbit, Apple Watch, Oura Ring, and Whoop Strap meet Mozilla's privacy standards.

In May, Mozilla released a similar report on mental health apps and found that they had poor privacy protections. 

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