Why People Are Deleting Period Tracker Apps, And How To Do It Right.Period apps carry sensitive information that can be used against you by police. And there are other digital risks, too.
Immediately after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and took back Americans’ constitutional right to access legal abortion, many people online insisted everyone should delete their period trackers ASAP.
Millions use period trackers as a helpful tool to know when they are ovulating or miss a cycle, and to be notified of potential pregnancies and miscarriages. In a 2019 survey by the Kasier Family Foundation, almost a third of Americans said they have tracked their menstrual cycle with an app, with about 15% saying they do so at least once a month. An app may help you find out you are pregnant before you even wonder if it might be possible.
But can you trust an app with this knowledge, especially now? Privacy advocates warn that period tracker apps can be used to surveil pregnant people and submitted as evidence that someone should be prosecuted for seeking an abortion. The group National Advocates for Pregnant Women found over 1,300 cases of pregnancy-related criminalization between 2006 and 2020, and according to the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, a nonprofit legal services provider, period tracker apps are a “potent source of data for police.”
Here’s what you need to know about the privacy levels of period tracker apps and the digital safeguards you can employ right now.