(NewsNation) — The leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that might doubtlessly overturn Roe v. Wade is elevating questions on data privacy on well being monitoring apps.
Be it location data, social media posts or search histories — on-line data will carry higher danger if the constitutional proper to an abortion is misplaced, researchers say.
Anti-abortion teams might use data to focus on pregnant girls with adverts as they stroll into well being clinics and personal firms might promote a pregnant particular person’s location data. Law enforcement might additionally pore over search histories to mount prosecutions — of girls who finish their being pregnant or those that assist them — in states with restricted entry.
Logging interval info into an app isn’t inherently harmful, mentioned Beau Friedlander, cybersecurity knowledgeable and co-host of the “What the Hack”” podcast Adam Levin. But since well being monitoring apps within the U.S. aren’t certain by HIPAA privacy guidelines, that info might doubtlessly resurface within the prison prosecution, relying on the circumstances, he mentioned.
“If Roe and Casey are no longer the law of the land, I think that you would do well to avoid using a cycle tracking app and, for sure, entering your cycle information into any sort of health tracking app until the law is reverted … there’s no reason to open yourself up to that kind of risk.”
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Companies that run common menstrual cycle monitoring apps have obtained messages from customers who need to guarantee their being pregnant and abortion info stay non-public.
“We’ve had messages from users concerned about how their data could be used by US courts if Roe vs Wade is overturned,” period-tracking app firm Clue tweeted Wednesday. “We completely understand this anxiety, and we want to reassure you that any health data you track in Clue about pregnancy or abortion is private and safe.”
Vice reported that it paid $160 for per week’s value of data from dealer SafeGraph. That data confirmed the place individuals who visited greater than 600 Planned Parenthood clinics went earlier than and after their go to.
The SafeGraph CEO instructed NewsNation in a press release: “We only sell data about physical places (not individuals). Our data is available to anyone to buy.”
Following this week’s leak, SafeGraph mentioned it stopped promoting info on visits to abortion clinics, noting “it’s good we were called out.”
But SafeGraph is only one of dozens of data collectors that share private particulars.
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Last yr, menstrual cycle monitoring app Flo Health settled Federal Trade Commission allegations that the corporate shared person well being info with exterior data analytics suppliers after promising to maintain the knowledge non-public.
On Wednesday, the corporate assured customers their info was secure.
“We have heard concerns surrounding data privacy should Roe v. Wade be overturned. We understand these concerns and want to assure you that your data is safe with Flo,” the corporate tweeted. “Flo does not share health data with any third party. In fact, in March 2022 Flo completed an external, independent privacy audit which confirmed there are no gaps or weaknesses in our privacy practices. Beyond this, the audit confirmed that our privacy efforts are fully compliant with the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework Principles.”
Clue provided related assurance. Clue’s privacy coverage says it could disclose info it collects — together with private data — when required to by legislation. The firm, nevertheless, is predicated in Berlin and should apply particular protections to customers’ reproductive well being data below European Union legislation, the corporate mentioned.
“The silver lining here is that it’s a great opportunity for people to practice better cyber hygiene,” Friedlander mentioned. “And what that looks like is not oversharing on social media. It looks like making sure your privacy settings are as tight as you can possibly make them. When it comes to data being shared to third parties, it does mean reading the reviews for apps or … Googling those apps (and) making sure that they’re aligned with your your worldview and your beliefs.”