Period tracking apps raise security concerns

Cybersecurity experts are concerned about the privacy of data from period tracking apps, worried that the information could be used against users, reported Kaiser Health News May 13.

The apps often are not covered by HIPAA laws and even if they are, data can still be anonymized and shared. One study found that 79 percent of health apps regularly shared data and were untransparent about doing so. Several period tracking apps have already drawn criticism for sharing data in potentially unethical ways, such as sharing fertility information with employers and outside data analytics companies.

Given the leaked draft ruling from the Supreme Court regarding overturning abortion rights, many are worried that the apps could be used against users criminally. 

"It's almost surreal that in some states using a period app could get you into trouble," Deven McGraw, head of data stewardship for biotech company Invitae told KHN. "But if an abortion is a crime, it could be accessed in building a case against you."

There is no current federal protection that prohibits data brokers from sharing information with law enforcement.

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