Why women are deleting their fertility apps

In the last days, many American women have removed fertility apps from their cellphonesFearing that the data collected by the apps could be used against them in future criminal cases in states where abortion has been made illegal, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial decision to strike down protection of the right to abortion.

In cases where people are criminalized because of the outcome of their pregnancy, law enforcement could search people’s phones and computers for evidence. Social media has also raised concerns about the use of apps that track menstrual cycles and the data these services and apps store and sell.

Why women in America erase their fertility apps and why they are considering moving to Canada (Getty Creative)

The trend already started last month when Supreme Court draft opinion leaked this suggested that the court was prepared to reject Roe v. Wade, and has only intensified since the court struck down the federal abortion law on Friday.

These concerns are not unfounded. Like other apps, trackers collect, store and sometimes share some of their users’ data. In a state where abortion is a crime, prosecutors could request the information collected by these apps when building a case against someone.

Fertility trackers are popular for a reason. Nearly a third of American women have used it, According to a 2019 survey published by the Kaiser Family Foundation. They have helped make women’s lives easier in many ways, from family planning to spotting the first signs of health problems to choosing the perfect time for a vacation.

A 2019 study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that 79% of health apps available on the Google Play store that are related to medicine, including apps that help manage medications, adherence, medication or prescription information, regularly share data from users and were “far from being transparent”.

Two of the most popular period trackers in America, Flo and Clue, they have over 55 million users combined. The Clue app, based in Berlinhe said on Twitter that he was “committed to protecting” private health data of users and operated under strict European data protection laws. The company’s website says the app collects device, event, and usage data, in addition to the user’s IP address, health data, and sensitive data. ‘it can use to improve the application, services and prevent misuse of its service.

Clue does not track exact location of users and says it does not store sensitive personal data without the user’s explicit permission. The company also tweeted that it would have a “primary legal obligation under European law” not to disclose any private health data and that it “would not respond to any request for disclosure or attempted subpoena of the health data of its users by US authorities”.

Third-party apps aren’t the only option when it comes to period tracking. Manzana has cycle tracking built into your Health app It offers more privacy than most external apps. In a few steps, you can deactivate the storage of your health data in iCloud, and also have the option of storing the encrypted data on your computer or phone.

Looking to move to Canada

The Roe v. Wade not only made crossing borders an important issue when seeking an abortion, but Americans also look at the bigger picture: move to Canada.

google search “how to move to Canada from the United States” rose Friday after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to data from Google Trends.

“How to move to Canada from the United States” skyrocketed 850% within an hour of the US Supreme Court’s decision being announced, Axios reports, and “How to Become a Canadian Citizen” soared 550% in the same time lapse.

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Alvin Nguyen

"Amateur introvert. Pop culture trailblazer. Incurable bacon aficionado."

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