House Democrats are working on legislation to protect people’s period tracker data

In a letter published on her official website, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has revealed that House Democrats have been working on legislation to protect personal information collected by reproductive health trackers. It’s one of three avenues left by lawmakers following the Supreme Court’s Roe v. picking up Wade, examines. “Many fear that this information could be used against women by a sinister prosecutor in a state that criminalizes abortion,” she said, but didn’t explain how lawmakers intend to protect people’s personal information.

Users are swapping out their period trackers for others they believe can offer them more privacy since the Supreme Court ruling. It’s not uncommon for companies to sell user information or work with law enforcement, and people are concerned about the possibility of investigators using that information to identify them if they ever request an abortion. As TechCrunch reported, a number of reproductive health apps enjoyed a surge in new signups over the weekend.

One such app is Flo, which announced it would launch an anonymous mode shortly after the Supreme Court ruling was released. The mode aims to remove personal information from her account so she cannot be identified, but Flo has yet to reveal when it will be available. It’s worth noting that Flo’s average daily installs are declining based on numbers quoted by Apptopia TechCrunchprobably because it has shared private data with third parties in the past.

Back in 2019, The Wall Street Journal listed Flo as one of the apps that had given Facebook access to people’s sensitive data. Two years later, Flo settled with the FTC over allegations that she shared information with the social network, Google, and other third-party companies. As part of this settlement, Flo must now explicitly obtain user consent before allowing external services to access their personal health data.

Despite the announcement by the House Speaker that House Democrats are working to “protect the health and liberty of American women,” there is no guarantee that the legislation they concocted would go into effect. It’s always smart to take a closer look at how apps protect user data by reading their “Nutrition Label” on iOS or their “Safety Section” in the Play Store on Android. But for those who really want to be safe, not using a period tracking app at all might be the best solution.

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