28 days later: A privacy horror story

October 02, 2019 | Case Study

While mHealth apps like period trackers are fairly low-risk and low-investment ways to engage in women's reproductive health, most of the solutions are deeply problematic in that they are leveraging outdated health information (that a woman's cycle is a hard and fast 28 days) to create what is essentially an overhyped calendar app. However, because they are quick and straightforward to develop and essentially calendar apps, many companies don't think too hard about data privacy. Recently, a U.K.-based research group called Privacy International released a report that found that period tracking app developers Mia and Maya had shared data with social media giant Facebook. This information included information on mood and the most recent sexual activity of the user. Users were understandably horrified, and there was significant blowback in the press, leading the companies to close down access to the apps while they reconfigure the software.

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