A few period-tracking apps are sharing sensitive information about sexual practices and health of women to Facebook, says new study.
What was shared?
Privacy International, an advocacy group, based in the UK shared results of its study on Monday with Buzzfeed. The findings showed that tracking apps such as Maya and MIA Fem shared personal data with the popular social network. This includes sharing women’s contraption usage, timings of monthly menstruation, period symptoms they experience and much more, informed the group.
Privacy International’s study analyzed apps which said they received millions of installations on Play Store. The group discovered that Plackal Tech-owned Maya app was sending extensive quantities of personal data to Facebook as well as other 3rd parties. It observed the same practice with Mobapp Development Ltd-owned MIA Fem app as well.
According to policies of Facebook, the social network can collect data from 3rd-party apps which use its APIs and SDKs. The SDK merges with apps to offer features such as analytics or allowing users to log-in using their Facebook account.
Plackal Tech did not immediately reply on the matter. However, it did inform Privacy International that it has since taken down Facebook’s SDK (Software Development Kit) as well as Analytics SDK from its app. However, Mobapp Development Ltd is yet to respond on the matter.
Some other apps:
Privacy International found two other period tracking apps that shared sensitive information with Facebook when a user used the app. This includes Linchpin Health-owned My Period Tracker app and Grupo Familia-owned Mi Calendario app. In fact, the study further discovered that Mi Calendario app was also utilizing an outdated Facebook SDK version.
Not all period-tracking apps are untrustworthy:
The study also analyzed a few well-known tracking apps and discovered that they were not sending any data to Facebook. These apps are Leap Fitness Group-owned Period Tracker, Flo Health-owned Period Tracker Flo, Simple Design-owned Period Tracker, and lastly, Biowink-owned Clue Period Tracker.