Have you considered your privacy rights when using birth control apps?
Assessment of a Wired.com article by Megan Molteni
Subjective: This article points out important considerations for people utilizing birth control and related apps that require the user to provide a significant amount of personal information. The somewhat galling aspect of which is that many users pay subscriptions for these services that in the end could make no small amount of money off this data.
Objective: Megan Moltini provides a balanced description of the pros and cons in using these types of apps. It is pointed out that many are not actively selling personal data at the time of the article and that the data they retrieve helps to provide a better product for its users. However, the potential for secondary use of the data for other unknown purposes is there.
Assessment: With statements such as this, users need to make educated choices about the apps that they choose to share their personal health information with: “Berglund says Natural Cycles’ only revenue stream at the moment is the app’s subscription service, and that selling customer data to third parties isn’t part of the company’s business plan. “We’ve never shared any data for financial purposes,” she says. But that may not always be the case. “I can’t say we’ll never share data, there’s no guarantees in life of what will happen.”
Plan: It has become very apparent that our personal data is being collected at great scale whether legally or illegally and it is important that we make active and educated choices about the health apps we use before automatically clicking the “Ok” or “I Agree” button when reviewing terms and conditions.
A link to the original article on Wired.comNatural Cycles stores user data in an encrypted cloud environment, and every week a pooled, anonymized version of the data gets pulled onto the company’s local servers to run the analysis that powers its app. So if you decide you want to delete your data, it should get scrubbed from the cloud first, and then from the company’s models, during that weekly overwriting process, according to Berglund. But according to the company’s privacy policies, it’s under no obligation to delete any data it has
A link to the Washington Post article titled, "Is your pregnancy app sharing your intimate data with your boss?"As apps to help moms monitor their health proliferate, employers and insurers pay to keep tabs on the vast and valuable data
Will insurers have to cover the controversial contraception app Natural Cycles under Obamacare’s mandate? An article from STAT.Currently, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines include “the full range of contraceptive methods for women,” including the birth control pill, IUDs, and sterilization procedures, as well as “additional methods as identified by the FDA.”
A link to the Electronic Privacy Information CenterEPIC is a public interest research center in Washington, DC. EPIC was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging privacy and civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, freedom of expression, and democratic values in the information age. EPIC pursues a wide range of program activities including policy research, public education, conferences, litigation, publications, and advocacy. EPIC routinely files amicus briefs in federal courts, pursues open government cases, defends consu
A link to an article discussing Garmin's menstrual cycle tracker Starting today, Garmin Connect users can record their cycle type, symptoms and notes about their personal health. By doing so, the service will begin to predict when their next period will occur or outline windows of increased fertility. In addition, the app will surface fitness and nutrition educational content that is tailored to the user’s current phase of their cycle.
A link to the New York Times articled titled, "What Women Know About the Internet"Of course, privacy is a concern for everyone, but this is also an issue, like health care, on which women have a particular view. Women know, for example, what consent really means. It’s not scrolling through seemingly endless “terms of service” and then checking a box. Online consent, just as it is with our bodies, should be clear, informed and a requirement for online platforms.