Ever since it became clear that the Roe v. Wade abortion ruling may be overturned by the Supreme Court, women in America started ditching the popular period-tracking apps from their phones from fears of persecution in states where abortion can now be made illegal.
The actual ruling last Friday has really accelerated that trend, the Guardian reports, with the most popular trackers seeing a decrease in installations across the board. Some of those apps collect personal information and offer just the regular privacy safeguards, so their users worry the developers could be subpoenaed to disclose it which could potentially put them in legal trouble.
While the fines in some states like Texas are exorbitant, some of the app creators are fighting back the notion that they would disclose customer data. The popular app Clue, for instance, is based in Germany and its developers say they fall under EU jurisdictions with all of its privacy-obsessed legal framework, clarifying that they would “not respond to any disclosure request or attempted subpoena of their users’ health data by US authorities.”
Clue and Flo have 55 million users between them, and Flo has already been in hot water for sharing pertinent data with Facebook, paying a settlement to the Federal Trade Commission about it last year.
The privacy-oriented Stardust app became the most downloaded free app on iOS in recent days precisely because it promises anonymous period data tracking, but it had to change the language of its disclosure. As of Monday, Stardust’s fine print read that they “may disclose your anonymized, encrypted information to third parties in order to protect the legal rights, safety and security of the company and the users of our services; enforce our terms of service; prevent fraud; and comply with or respond to law enforcement or a legal process or a request for cooperation by a government or other entity, whether or not legally required,” and now that last part reads “when legally required.”
It turns out that the best anonymous period-tracking app option in the US could very well be Planned Parenthood’s own app called Spot On which can be used without creating an account and stores the period data locally on the user’s phone.