Period tracker app Flo has decided to add a new “anonymous mode” feature to allow users to remove personal data such as names, email IDs and tech IDs from their profiles.
This decision follows the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Waderaising concerns that period-tracking apps could be used by law enforcement to access data and prosecute those seeking abortions.
The app released a statement saying that the “anonymous mode” feature had already been planned, but the rollout process was sped up following the Supreme Court ruling on abortions.
“Flo will always be an advocate for women’s health, and that includes providing our users with full control over their data,” Susanne Schumacher, Flo’s data protection officer, was quoted by NPR as saying.
“Flo will never share or sell user data, and will only collect data when we have a legal basis to do so and when our users have given informed consent. All data we collect is fully encrypted, and that will never change.
The app emailed all of its users on June 29 notifying them of the feature and said it would be available in the coming weeks.
Ms Schumacher added that once a user activates anonymous mode, their account would be stripped of their personal credentials.
“If Flo received an official request to identify a user by name or email, anonymous mode would prevent us from being able to connect data to an individual, which means we would not be able to satisfy the request,” the email reads.
The app informed users that they can request removal of all their personal information from the app by emailing customer service.
Flo had previously come under heavy criticism for sharing its users’ data. A survey conducted by the the wall street journal found that the app notified Facebook when a user had their period or intended to get pregnant.
Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a settlement with Flo last year after alleging in a complaint that Flo promised to keep users’ health data private and use it only to provide the services. of the app to users, but the app had instead “disclosed the health data of millions of users of its Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker app to third parties”.
The FTC pointed out that these third parties “provide marketing and analytics services to the app, including Facebook’s Analytics Division, Google’s Analytics Division, Google’s Fabric Service, AppsFlyer, and Flurry.” .
Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Consumer Protection Bureau, said at the time that consumers “need to be able to trust” apps that “collect, use and share sensitive health information.”
“We closely examine whether health app developers keep their promises and handle sensitive health information responsibly,” he said.
The Independent Gt