Menstrual cycle monitoring applications are very popular among women. They make life easier and control over your own body. Recent reports, however, indicate that many of them steal intimate information that they later provide to Facebook.
A new report from Privacy International, a UK organization that promotes the right to privacy worldwide, has revealed how some of the popular menstrual calendars used by millions of women provide information on their health and sexual activity. Everything via Facebook.
Information that has been shared
The information captured included data on menstrual cycles, contraception used, pains or abdominal cramps, edema and sex life.
Menstrual applications send data to Facebook when they are opened, regardless of whether the person has or does not have a Facebook account. It is also irrelevant here whether the user was logged in to the social networking platform.
When using this type of application, women are asked to provide intimate information about their health and activity. We are talking here about physical symptoms, emotional states, dates of periods, but also sexual intercourse.
Detailed information is collected to determine the moment of ovulation, which is particularly important from the perspective of women trying to conceive.
Shocking Privacy International reports
A British organization has found that some of the most popular menstrual applications, downloaded by millions of people, share this information with Facebook or other external companies.
The applications transmit the entered data through the integrated Software Development Kit (SDK). It is used by application developers to generate advertising revenue. It is about advertising in line with the user's preferences, which is often displayed by Facebook.
What applications pose a threat?
According to Privacy International, intimate data may be provided by:
- MIA Fem: Ovulation Calculator;
- My Period Tracker;
- Ovulation Calculator;
- Mi Calendario.
Facebook informed that one of the conditions set for application developers is to clearly inform users about what information they collect and share, as well as what constitutes the "legal basis" for collecting this type of data.
Facebook also added that it prohibits application developers from sharing customer data that "includes health, financial or other categories of confidential information (including any information identified as sensitive under applicable law)." In response to the Privacy International report, the developers of Maya decided to remove the Facebook SDK and SDK Analytics. They have released a new version of the application, which is available in our database in the Applications for women section. Other companies have not taken any significant steps in sharing their users' data.