22 Aug Birth Control Apps May Pose Privacy Risk
It was reported last week that the US FDA had approved the first-ever, over-the-counter digital contraceptive called Natural Cycles. The app monitors changes in the body such as temperature and menstrual data and uses an algorithm to tell the user when they are allowed to have unprotected sex.
However, it has been pointed out that the data being collected by the app has become of high value to third parties such as pharmaceutical firms, the insurance industry, and marketing agencies, even in its anonymized and aggregated form.
Christine Bannan of the Electronic Privacy Information Center said that the situation is particularly concerning since the companies only use privacy policies comparable to those of other consumer apps even though the data they are handling, like fertility data, is much more sensitive. Despite this, the app company will not be able to provide users the same data rights like those for health data under the HIPAA.