ProPublica: Federal Patient Privacy Law Does Not Cover Most Period-Tracking Apps

ProPublica: Federal Patient Privacy Law Does Not Cover Most Period-Tracking Apps. “Following the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, advocates for privacy and reproductive health have expressed fears that data from period-tracking apps could be used to find people who’ve had abortions. They have a point. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the federal patient privacy law known as HIPAA, does not apply to most apps that track menstrual cycles, just as it doesn’t apply to many health care apps and at-home test kits.”

MIT Technology Review: How to track your period safely post-Roe

MIT Technology Review: How to track your period safely post-Roe. “The fear is that in the hands of law enforcement, this data could be used to bolster a criminal case against a person who attempts to get an abortion in a state where it is restricted or banned. Understandably, a lot of people are scared and confused. So here’s our guide to what you need to know about period-tracking apps, what the apps’ makers say about their often murky privacy policies, and what alternative methods you can use to track your menstrual cycle that don’t involve handing your data over.”

TechCrunch: Period tracker Stardust surges following Roe reversal, but its privacy claims aren’t airtight

TechCrunch: Period tracker Stardust surges following Roe reversal, but its privacy claims aren’t airtight. “TechCrunch ran a network traffic analysis of Stardust’s iPhone app on Monday to understand what data was flowing in and out of the app. The network traffic showed that if a user logs into the app using their phone number (rather than through a login service provided by Apple or Google), Stardust will periodically share the user’s phone number with a third-party analytics service called Mixpanel.”

Motherboard: Data Marketplace Selling Info About Who Uses Period Tracking Apps

Motherboard: Data Marketplace Selling Info About Who Uses Period Tracking Apps. “To be clear, data for sale on Narrative does not include specific information about women’s menstrual cycles. It is information on what devices downloaded a specific app. If a third party wanted to identify who used a certain family planning or period tracking app, the data for sale on Narrative would be a potential first step towards doing that.”

SupChina: Xi’an woman in quarantine begs for period products in viral video, gets bashed by men for being ‘dramatic’

SupChina: Xi’an woman in quarantine begs for period products in viral video, gets bashed by men for being ‘dramatic’. “Are period products necessities or luxuries? Should women be blamed if they are trapped in a quarantine facility without sanitary pads because they should be keeping track of their menstruation cycles? A COVID-19 lockdown and viral video have launched a debate on Chinese social media.” To anyone who thinks that menstrual cycles are some kind of events of inexorable timing and can be planned for, I offer this study from October 2021 on how pandemic stress disrupted menstrual cycles: https://www.verywellmind.com/pandemic-stress-caused-irregular-menstrual-cycles-study-finds-5204326 .

NBC New York: Study Offers Reassurance on COVID Shots, Women’s Periods

NBC New York: Study Offers Reassurance on COVID Shots, Women’s Periods . “One of the first studies to track whether COVID-19 vaccination might affect women’s periods found a small and temporary change. Research published Wednesday tracked nearly 4,000 U.S. women through six menstrual cycles and on average, the next period after a shot started about a day later than usual. But there was no change in the number of days of menstrual bleeding after COVID-19 vaccination.”

ABC News: Can the COVID-19 vaccine affect women’s menstrual cycles? Here’s what we know

ABC News: Can the COVID-19 vaccine affect women’s menstrual cycles? Here’s what we know. “With nearly 30% of U.S. adults fully vaccinated, scientists and doctors still don’t know why — or even if — vaccines might impact menstruation. However, they’re listening to women’s experiences, and calling for more studies to unpack any potential link. And, experts agree these changes are likely to be temporary, and there is no reason for women to worry about fertility.”

Pandemic periods: why women’s menstrual cycles have gone haywire (The Guardian)

The Guardian: Pandemic periods: why women’s menstrual cycles have gone haywire. “When the gynaecologist Dr Anita Singh (who writes and podcasts as the Gynae Geek) posted an informal survey on Instagram in May, asking if women had noticed changes to their cycles or hormonal symptoms, 65% of the 5,677 respondents said yes. A study (not yet peer reviewed) carried out by sports scientists and the bioanalytics company Orreco showed that 53% of 749 women surveyed on the characteristics of their menstrual cycle reported changes, such as changes in mood and longer cycles than usual.”

ZDNet: Developer of Popular Women’s Fertility-Tracking App Settles FTC Allegations that It Misled Consumers About the Disclosure of their Health Data

ZDNet: Developer of Popular Women’s Fertility-Tracking App Settles FTC Allegations that It Misled Consumers About the Disclosure of their Health Data. “The developer of a period and fertility-tracking app used by more than 100 million consumers has settled Federal Trade Commission allegations that the company shared the health information of users with outside data analytics providers after promising that such information would be kept private. The proposed settlement requires Flo Health, Inc. to, among other things, obtain an independent review of its privacy practices and get app users’ consent before sharing their health information.”

BuzzFeed: Period Tracker Apps Used By Millions Of Women Are Sharing Incredibly Sensitive Data With Facebook

BuzzFeed: Period Tracker Apps Used By Millions Of Women Are Sharing Incredibly Sensitive Data With Facebook. “UK-based advocacy group Privacy International, sharing its findings exclusively with BuzzFeed News, discovered period-tracking apps including MIA Fem and Maya sent women’s use of contraception, the timings of their monthly periods, symptoms like swelling and cramps, and more, directly to Facebook.”

Tracking a sensitive topic: Menstrual health in women (Washington Post)

Washington Post: Tracking a sensitive topic: Menstrual health in women. “Girls in low- and middle-income countries lack information about puberty and periods, and affordability, availability and disposal challenges mean that many ­people go without adequate ­hygiene during menstruation. It’s an issue in the United States, too, where ‘menstrual equity’ is a growing policy issue. The website gathers information on menstrual health education and products and innovations designed to address these challenges. Highlights include a database of research studies related to menstrual health management and a thoughtful roundup of settled issues and ongoing debates in the field.”