Clear period tracking app data after Roe v. wade

Since the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization reversed Roe vs. Wade, many are sounding the alarm about how times have changed in recent decades. Namely, the Internet exists now, as does our digital footprint and the issue of digital privacy (i.e. lack thereof). People are urging others to not only delete their period and fertility tracking apps, but also to follow the steps to ensure app data is cleared.

These are apps like Clue, Flor, Natural Cycles, and more. Even for those seeking to conceive or objecting to having an abortion themselves, data from a period/fertility app can be used against them, possibly in the event of a miscarriage. Critics of this data deletion and erasure movement say it doesn’t go far enough. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and others warn that ignoring other issues can leave you vulnerable through your browsing history, calendar app, unencrypted messaging (including email), and more. This graph of the Digital Defense Fund shows how abortion activity can accidentally be tracked and used against you.

Guide to the different ways you
(Digital Defense Fund)

Since the leak of the initial SCOTUS advisory a few months ago, some apps have tried to preempt this more than justified panic by assuring that they will not work with police or state agencies. This includes companies that aren’t even based in the United States. However, there is still a problem with these apps because paid apps can be traced back to customers and free versions sell data. Initiated reported Flo’s FTC issues with this in 2021. One approach is to work on an “anonymous mode”.

Let’s take their full word for a second because they do important work for reproductive health. It doesn’t work for US-based companies when law enforcement and purity police (including abortion bounty hunters) may be fighting over evidence to appear. While currently this may be a relief for a privileged few in the chaos, a nationwide abortion ban would make it harder to enforce. More information will be extracted regardless of the company’s commitment.

The 9/11 Patriot Act expanded the scope of what law enforcement (especially at the national and state level) could do regarding privacy. They don’t even need your device data. Pinning data that other companies collect on people to an individual person isn’t terribly difficult, because this episode of John Oliver Last week tonight of the beginning of this year emphasizes this.

(via Twitter, image: Getty/Hanna Siamashka)

Here’s some other news we saw today:

  • Boxer, activist and actress Kali Reis joins Jodie Foster for the fourth season of True Detective. (Going through Variety)
  • Early reports reveal that meta companies Facebook and Instagram are beginning to remove posts offering abortion pills. Guns and more are fine, don’t worry… (via PA)
  • The first reviews of reading rainbow documentary butterfly in the sky look good. (Going through The movie scene)
  • A home care worker leads a protest after a settlement left her with only $200 in back pay for more than 6,000 unpaid overtime hours. (Going through NBC)
  • To eat. Bang! Kill. Round Writer Tee Franklin hosts Twitter Space’s reaction to the trailer for the third season of Harley Quinn: The Animated Series. Soon joined by writers and Patrick Schumacker. (Going through Twitter)
  • Authors decry being forced to pay Amazon after readers return ebooks. (Going through NPR)

What did you find on the Internet today, Mary Suevians?

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