Menstruation Apps Like Flo And Clue May Be Selling Information About Menstrual Cycles, Sexual Activity And More To Other Companies
‘Our private information is our information, none of your information’, is the thought that first came to my mind as soon as I heard the news about menstruation apps that had been storing information about women user and their periods and other intimate details. This information is being shared with other companies. And what we’re trying to figure out is what limits are people willing to cross, when it comes to invading a woman’s privacy.
Shocked when the chilling news was brought the fore by a study that was conducted by Privacy International, a UK-based charity, upon the study of 5 leading menstruation apps, we knew that data was being shared but the extent of it is quite unnverving. From very intimate information from the pills women are on, to how long they take to have an orgasm, to even how often they have sex, all these sorts of answers of users’ was now being collected and circulated for various reasons.
As the usage of such apps see a rise in this digital world, seems like whatever pre-requisites that we fill in order to register for the app to track our monthly cycles, is now being distributed without our consent. In fact, legal experts, a former minister and a period poverty charity have all described the recent research on the matter as ‘very disturbing’.
Also Read : A Supreme Court Advocate, Kiruba Munusamy Shares How She Was Fired From Her Job For Taking A Period Leave. How De-sensitized Are We As A Society To Menstruation?
"According to research by Privacy International, a U.K.-based registered charity, 61% of menstruation apps tested automatically transferred data to Facebook as soon as the user opened the app. https://t.co/VjpsbC57yu
— TheAgileEthicist (@AgileEthicist) March 13, 2020
Eva Blum-Dumontet, a senior researcher at Privacy International who also assisted in the study shared her thoughts on the development and called the findings ‘chilling’ and shared how, “it makes us realise just how much data those apps actually collect, store and sometimes share with others.” And considering how the number of times a woman orgasms or has sex is none of anyone’s business, one can imagine why we’d be pissed at the discovery.
The study discovered that Flo, a menstruation app stores all kinds of information on women users from recording what medication they are on to how long they take to orgasm. And turns out, they share such private information with a number of outside companies. However, Flo said that the above practice was only to improve the working of their app. A spokesperson said, “As with nearly any app, Flo utilises third-party service providers to better understand the usage of its product so it can improve user experience and ensure the accuracy of the app’s insights which our users rely on. To be clear, Flo never sells user data or shares sensitive user data with third parties for advertising or any other use beyond helping improve the functionality of the app.”
Similarly, an app called Clue has also found to be exploiting users’ personal information by supplying it to external companies, while the Clue officials have denied any such claim and stated how the collection of such data is only to carry out research. Excuse us, while we don’t buy that.
It is a shame that in the guise to help women track their cycles and offer help, companies and apps are actually duping users into sharing their discreet, very personal information to the world. This kind of invasion of privacy and disregard of consent is just not acceptable.