Popular period-tracking apps were found sharing extremely sensitive data to Facebook, including when users last had sex


An investigation from Privacy International found various period-tracking apps with millions of downloads were sharing extremely sensitive and detailed data with Facebook and other third-parties.
Two apps in particular, Maya and MIA Fem, shared details as personal as when users last had sex.
Following the report Maya told Privacy International it was removing the Facebook Software Development Kit (SDK) that was facilitating this data sharing.
A Facebook spokeswoman told Business Insider the platform’s terms of service “prohibit developers from sending us sensitive health information and we enforce against them when we learn they are.”
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An investigation from privacy advocacy group Privacy International found that period-tracking apps downloaded by millions of users shared alarmingly sensitive data with Facebook and other third-parties, including users’ drinking habits, medical symptoms, and when they last had sex.

Privacy International’s report identified five apps which shared data with Facebook. It focused on two apps in particular — Maya and MIA Fem — which the report said were sharing alarming amounts of detail.

Maya has over five million downloads on the Google Play Store, while MIA Fem has one million.

Both apps had Facebook’s Software Development Kit (SDK). SDK lets apps use certain features, for example allowing users to log in via Facebook, and helps the apps manage their data. In return, the apps feed data back to Facebook.

Read more: Phone numbers for as many as 220 million Facebook users were reportedly found sitting online in a file where anybody could have found them

Privacy International’s analysis showed that both apps started feeding data back to Facebook even before users agreed to its privacy policy.

Once users start using the apps, incredibly specific and sensitive information was also passed along. Both apps shared data to other third-parties as well as Facebook, Privacy International said.

Here is the data that Maya passed on:
If users reported symptoms such as cramps or breast tenderness.
Whether they were on contraception, e.g. the pill.
Moods e.g. whether they were feeling “sexy” or “anxious.”
When users last had sex, and whether they used protection.
Here is the data that MIA Fem passed on:
Whether users were using the app as a regular period-tracker, or as a fertility-tracker because they were trying to get pregnant.
The date of users’ last period and the duration of the cycle.
Whether users have been drinking coffee and alcohol.
What feminine hygiene products users were using.
Medical symptoms e.g. constipation and diarrhea.

MIA Fem also passed on inferable data about users’ sex lives because it takes data, e.g. whether they had masturbated recently, and recommends users articles based on this.

Privacy International found MIA Fem passed on which articles had been shown to users, for example one entitled “Masturbation: What You Want to Know But Are Ashamed to Ask.” The report repeatedly voices the concern that any and all of this data could potentially be used by advertisers.

Eva Blum-Dumontet, who led the investigation, told Business Insider that even people without Facebook accounts were having their information relayed to the social media giant.

“Regardless of whether you’re a user or not …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Tech

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