Health

Analytics: Nine out of 20 popular cycle-tracking apps use data for third-party advertising



Nearly half of cycle tracking apps studied data used or shared for third-party advertising, according to an analysis by the cybersecurity and VPN company Surfshark.

The review examined 20 popular apps from the Apple App Store and ranked each app according to the amount and sensitivity of the information it collected. For example, an app receives one point for data collected that is not linked to a user’s identity, such as application crash information, and three points for data that can track users across other site, such as user ID. It also adds points to collect data for third-party ads.

Nine data is shared for ads, while 10 raw locations are collected, which cannot be tracked to an exact address, but can provide more approximate location information. Eight apps collected photo and video gallery data.

Overall, the analysis ranks Eve, Glow, and Ovia highest in terms of the amount of potentially sensitive data they collect, while Apple and Life’s Cycle Tracking apps rank lowest.

WHY IT IMPORTANT

The cybersecurity company said its review found that much of this data is not needed for the apps to work, as the lowest-rated apps still work for users.

“Many users agree to share their personal information without knowing where their data is going,” Agneska Sablovskaja, data researcher at Surfshark, said in a statement,

“Our study found that 17 out of 20 cycle tracking apps collected one or both of your health data or sensitive information, which could include information about your reproductive or pregnancy health. Technology companies and apps may share this data with third-party advertisers, data brokers or even government organizations.It is important to research ahead of time. when downloading anything to your phone because it can do more harm than good.”

TREND TO BIGGER WOMAN

Privacy and security concerns about women’s health apps have grown in recent weeks due to Leaked Supreme Court draft comments that would overturn Roe against Wade. Some security experts have concerns data collected in cycle tracking apps can be used to punish anyone consider abortion.

The results from Surfshark’s analysis are consistent with The study was published earlier this month In JMIR, which looked at cycle tracking apps and other women’s health tools. It found that 20 out of 23 apps studied data shared with third parties, while only 16 showed a privacy policy and 12 required consent from the user. The three apps began collecting data before consent was received.



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