A recent analysis published by cybersecurity company Surfshark has revealed that almost half of period-tracking applications in the study shared or used user data for third-party advertising. The analysis consisted of the twenty most popular applications on the Apple Application Store and graded each application according to the quantity and sensitivity of the data it collects. Each data point was then added on the company’s point system. One point was awarded to data that is not linked to a user’s identity, two points for data that could be linked to a user’s identity such as name and address, and finally, three points for data that could track users across various applications and websites such as user ID.
The analysis scored Apple’s Cycle Tracking and the Life app as collecting the least amount of potentially sensitive data, while Eve, Glow, and Ovia scored most. The study revealed that nine of all applications use user data for third-party advertising. Half of the examined applications collect coarse locations. While your exact location is not identified, the data can be used to identify your state location. Additionally, eight applications were found to be collecting users’ photos and video library data.
According to the cybersecurity company’s analysis, many of these data points are not required for the applications to function, since even the lowest-ranked ones may be used by users. Surfshark advises Apple’s Cycle Tracking and Life for users. “The apps we’d recommend are Apple’s Cycle Tracking and Life. Both have low indices of 4 – none of the 4 data points they collect are linked to or used to track the user. No data is used for third-party advertising either.”
The results of the analysis come at a critical time for women in the U.S. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, has raised concerns about the use of period-tracking application data to prosecute individuals who seek an abortion. Therefore, it will be essential for the privacy of users to remain secured in order to ensure the safety of its users.