After the Supreme Court in the US overturned the constitutional right for women to get an abortion, many Americans found themselves deleting apps designed to help them keep track of their periods. Why? Because law enforcement could potentially use the data stored in these apps to prove that someone terminated a pregnancy, which in some states is now a criminal charge.
So now, people are paying more attention to the quality of data privacy these apps provide for their users. Clue, a Berlin-based app, said that it would adhere to strict GDPR laws in the EU that keep user data private and would not respond to any US subpoena requests (though this doesn’t necessarily mean that it would be immune from US prosecution, either). Flo, another period tracking app based in Belarus, doesn’t have the best track record of keeping user data private. However, it announced on Friday that it’s launching an “anonymous mode” to help keep its users’ data safer.
The recent attention has also led to some activists who don’t even have a period to download these tracking apps just to make it harder to narrow down accurate user data to any one person. “I’m a cis man who just downloaded a period tracking app because if there’s anything I love it’s causing chaos,” tweeted Santiago Mayer, the Executive Director of Voters for Tomorrow.