NewsTopic Takeovers


Should you delete your period-tracking, location apps as abortion rights change?

period tracking app
Posted at 8:00 AM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 11:00:45-04

With the landmark Supreme Court ruling reversing abortion rights nationwide, some experts are now warning women to delete their period tracking apps or any apps that store certain information about their health.

“Really sensitive health data can be revealed through a whole bunch of different ways,” says Alexandra Givens, CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology.

Data experts say there are some concerns about that information being shared or subpoenaed and used against someone to prove they had an abortion.

One app called “Flo” launched an anonymous mode that removes personal identities from accounts. The app has already reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over accusations of data sharing. Experts warn that even if you delete your app, that doesn’t mean your data goes away.

“You really want to check the terms of that app you want to figure out every single way you can to actually delete the information that is historically stored,” says Givens.

It’s not just menstrual cycle apps but it could be other apps that use your location.

“We've actually seen a number of news stories about data brokers that were collecting location information from people's phones and were able to reveal who had a Planned Parenthood clinic, about where they've been before going to the clinic and where they've gone after it was anonymized. But that actually can be very revealing of your own individual identity.”

Givens says it’s best to take 10 minutes to investigate your phone settings and how it’s sharing your location information. If you see an account you don’t recognize, delete it.

You should also make sure your app doesn’t store information in the cloud. As long as it’s only on your local device, you have the power to delete it.