The Dangers of Period Apps & Your Privacy Post Roe v Wade
Tracking your period is an essential part of not only understanding your cycles. In today's digital landscape many have turned to digital apps to help track and keep your information organized. In the wake of recent events around Roe v. Wade and abortion becoming illegal in several states many are left questioning the safety of their data in these apps.
Why Track My Period?
From understanding your cycle, energy levels and bodies needs to preventing pregnancy—tracking your cycle has many different purposes. Many people key into cycle tracking when they are trying to get pregnant or actively trying to avoid pregnancy without hormonal birth control.
Tracking your cycle is becoming even more important and advantageous with the overturn of Roe v. Wade as it will have an impact on access to abortion options and here's why: Pregnancy is measured from the date of your last period. For example if you had sex and got pregnant a week ago, you could be considered 4 weeks pregnant because your last period was 4 weeks ago. In states that ban abortions after a certain number of weeks it will be crucial to understand and know where you are in your cycle so you can take action quickly.
Should I Delete my Period App?
The short of the answer is yes, you should delete your period tracking app if you wish your reproductive health data to be private. This data can be subpoenaed and used against you if you were to be entered into a lawsuit around abortion.
Many period tracking apps are start-ups and focus their energy on getting to market quickly and increasing users. According to a recent article in Vox, several have a history of violating privacy agreements including Flo, Glow and Stardust.
Some apps are better than others—like Clue, a European based tracking app who is obligated under the world's strictest data privacy law, the European GDPR. However, the only way to be sure that your data cannot be obtained is to not use a period app at all.
How Can I Track my Period without An App?
If you are looking for a secure way to track your cycle your best option is good ol' fashioned pen and paper. Keep track of what day of your cycle you are on in your journal or download a printable tracker. If you'd like to keep things digital you could utilize your google calendar which doesn't sell data to a third party.