In this day and age, it is important to choose a period-tracking app that is particularly privacy-focused. With growing concern about reproductive health privacy, learn the tools to keep both your health and privacy a priority.
How data is processed:
you downloaded an app... now what?
After a user inputs data into an app, the makers of the app will either have the data stored on the users phone or on a server. Each of these methods have their pros and cons, for example, locally stored data can take up a lot of storage and limits a lot of features such as period prediction, hormone tracking, ovulation prediction. This is because you need to process user data through intelligent software that cannot be processed on a phone, which has limited space.
After a user inputs data into an app, the makers of the app will either have the data stored on a server or a user's phone. Each of these methods have their pros and cons. For example, locally stored data can take up a lot of storage.
The app will not share user data with third parties. The app can prohibit users from using the app if it chooses.
Companies can share user data with third-parties who may have access to information ranging from gender to location depending on what the privacy agreement states.
March 15, 2023
Author: Averille Taylor
Editor: Anika Bukkapatnam
Publisher: SpotBox LLC.
Period tracker apps collect personal information that can extend to more than a person's cycle, often including information about sexual activity, family planning behaviors, fertility, and medical events like spontaneous abortions. This really depends on the app you are using and what you log. While these technologies are marketed to help people manage their body, there is increasing worry from app users about whether their private reproductive health data may not be so private at all. Others worry about whether it could be used against them in civil proceedings (as evidence that they might have had a miscarriage or an abortion.)
Period-tracking apps are celebrated as an empowering tool for menstruators that allows not only a better understanding of their physiology, but helps provide autonomy. And, it is our belief that people should not be afraid to use a period-tracking app to handle their own periods, fertility windows, and other useful insights about their menstrual cycles.
So, how do we suggest you choose your period-tracking app?
Ask these questions:
Where does this app store my data?
In a server? On my phone? What does this mean for my privacy?
Is this app sharing my data with someone else?
Are you saying I have to read all of that fine print?
What should I look for in a privacy agreement?
Give me the low-down on what to look for in all these lengthy privacy agreements.
Let's take a look at some apps on the market right now
Data stays on device
Avoids third party trackers
Shares transparency reports
Android or iOS
No solution is entirely foolproof. We live in a world where nearly everything is digitized, and even privately stored data on your phone can be accessed directly. Like any other app, from your favorite messenger to a search engine, period tracking apps pose a degree of threat to data privacy.
Regardless, period-tracking apps should be a tool for mestruators, that empowers them to understand their bodies and their reproductive health. No one should be afraid of their health information being used against themselves.
In choosing the right period tracking app, it is absolutely worth taking a second to go over a company's policies, and compare them to your own values to make the best choice for yourself.
1. Corbin, B. (2022, October 17). Industry voices—the crumbling bridge of reproductive rights: Is femtech next? Fierce Healthcare. https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/digital-health/industry-voices-crumbling-bridge-reproductive-rights-femtech-next
2. Poli, K. (2022, July 20). The most popular period-tracking apps, ranked by data privacy. Wired. https://www.wired.com/story/period-tracking-apps-flo-clue-stardust-ranked-data-privacy/
3. Roberts, C. (2022, May 25). Period Tracker Apps and Privacy. Consumer Reports. https://www.consumerreports.org/health-privacy/period-tracker-apps-privacy-a2278134145/
4. Vouloumanos, V. (2022, October 4). This lawyer broke down how to protect your online privacy post-Roe, from DMs to period tracking apps. BuzzFeed. https://www.buzzfeed.com/victoriavouloumanos/period-tracking-app-privacy