Period-tracking apps, ranked by data privacy: Flow, Period Tracker, Stardust, Period Calendar

Period-tracking apps, ranked by data privacy: This not only shifts the burden of risk assessment to individual users, but also makes it difficult to evaluate the privacy and security of apps. To do so, we consulted prior evaluation frameworks Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (MIND) And Digital standard Approaching four main questions to guide our study.

* Score (0) = app does not meet privacy requirement, (1) = app partially meets privacy requirement, (2) = app meets privacy requirement, and (3) = app meets privacy requirement well

**’Clear Specification’ is defined here as the index of third-party companies and the data they receive.

Period-tracking apps Using Local or Cloud Storage

Awareness where Storing your data is critical for companies to assess the privacy risk of using their products. The most popular mobile apps store user data in the cloud—in multiple locations on multiple servers—allowing them to process large amounts of information that can be easily retrieved. It also means your data is more vulnerable to bad actors.

That’s why companies like Givens prefer apps that store information directly on users’ devices. If the app stores data directly on your mobile phone, you have full control over it. None of the apps reviewed above give users the option to store their data locally hold on and supported by the Mozilla Foundation Bindu do

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Period-tracking apps Using Third party participation

If you’ve recently used Facebook to log into a website or app, you’re already familiar with some of the ways app developers share information with third parties. Understanding which third parties a company works with and what types of data is sent to them is a helpful way to assess your level of protection.

For example, Period Tracker’s privacy policy acknowledges sharing users’ device IDs with advertising networks, which is extremely risky. It also expresses their willingness to sell or transfer user data as a result of a corporate merger or sale. In general, apps like Clue that make it clear who they’re giving information to and why are more trustworthy.

It is also helpful to know whether data is routinely anonymized (de-identifying user information removed) before sharing with these third parties. However, it is not a panacea. Removed data Still leads back to individual users Under certain conditions.

Machine learning makes this threat even more real, as the technology accelerates dark “re-identification” processes. Clue may send anonymous data to certain third parties, even if the user pledges not to share data Research groups.

While Stardust is committed to limiting the information they share with third parties, Their approach tells It may share information to “comply with or respond to law enforcement” or to protect “the security of the company.” Ideally, apps should decide which third-parties they’re willing to share information with—or which third-parties they won’t.

Period-tracking apps Have Option For Personal Data deletion

Each app must have established protocols that allow users to delete their personal data from the developers’ systems at will. While many US-based apps have these protocols in place to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), users should note the privacy policies Clearly Extend these eraser privileges to all users regardless of location. Still, it can be tricky, says Givens: “If you’re not a resident of a jurisdiction covered by the law, there’s no guarantee they’ll honor it.”

Even apps that invite data deletion requests may not always implement them in a timely or complete manner. Flow, whose security practices kept them under FTC review In 2021, after deleting their app, they specifically state in their privacy policy that they “retain your personal data for 3 years if you decide to reactivate”. Period Tracker agrees to retain users’ mobile device IDs for “up to 24 months” after receiving a request. Secure apps keep your data for 30 days or less and ideally submit deletion requests to third parties on your behalf, like Clue does.

Period-tracking apps Using Location tracking or Not

If an app explicitly stores location data (such as a period calendar and period tracker), it presents a greater privacy problem. Although three of the five apps analyzed here do not appear to save location data explicitly, each app saves users’ IP addresses, which can be used to determine one’s general location. Flo expressly shares IP addresses with third parties, such as AppsFlyer, for example.

Stardust’s practices separate users’ IP addresses from their health data, increasing security. But critics say their methods fall short True end-to-end encryption. Regardless, when IP addresses are combined with outside data, such as a user’s search history or other publicly available information about the user, they can easily reveal that person’s identity and their activities.

CDT and other privacy advocates have warned that users’ text messages and search histories have already been used against them in legal actions related to their reproductive health, and the practice is likely to expand.

At the end of the day, a period-tracking app like Clue offers users slightly less risk than apps like Flow, Stardust, Period Calendar, and Period Tracker. However, these five apps, chosen for their overwhelming popularity, are proven to falter when compared to more secure options like Euki and Drip. User reports.

As long as users have the opportunity to analyze All According to the standards set by their apps Digital standard, Health index, and elsewhere, users can make educated decisions about which companies to align with—but evaluating the risks of using specific apps is an imperfect science.

In addition to being time-consuming and often confusing, it is nowhere near an adequate substitute for the lack of extensive legal privacy protections available to all Americans.

According to privacy experts like Givens, period-tracking apps represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to digital privacy and security. Roy. CDT recommends that people assess their own risk level to determine whether using a period-tracking app is worthwhile. Measures are being taken in the meantime Secure your personal information Things like text messages and search histories are probably more valuable.

For those who want to make a difference, experts recommend demanding better privacy protections directly from tech companies, especially precedent-setting companies like Google and Meta (formerly Facebook).

These corporations will ultimately have to respond to requests from law enforcement for user data, and many are already promising to reduce their surveillance (but also aggressively lobbying against privacy legislation and regulation).

To pave the way for better policy, tech companies should aim to take serious inventory of the data they collect, regularly file transparency reports and, most importantly, take a proactive and frequent public stance in defense of privacy rights.

That’s It For This Post On Period-tracking apps, ranked by data privacy

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