Many widespread ladies’s well being apps fail to fulfill primary information privateness and safety requirements, according to a review published in JMIR.
The examine analyzed 23 of probably the most downloaded and highest rated femtech apps on Apple’s App Retailer and Google Play by two unbiased reviewers on information privateness, information sharing and safety evaluation standards. Sixteen of the apps have been associated to fertility, cycle monitoring and being pregnant, whereas others centered on areas like breast and lung cancers, psychological well being, train and abortion.
Researchers discovered all of the apps included behavioral monitoring, and 14 allowed location monitoring. In the meantime, solely 16 displayed a privateness coverage, and 12 requested consent from customers. Three of the apps started accumulating information earlier than acquiring consent. 13 supplied customers with details about information safety.
The evaluation additionally famous that 20 of the 23 apps shared information with third events, whereas researchers could not decide information sharing insurance policies from the ultimate three.
“Lots of the hottest ladies’s mHealth apps in the marketplace have poor information privateness, sharing and safety requirements. Though laws exist, such because the European Union Common Knowledge Safety Regulation, present practices don’t observe them,” the examine’s authors wrote. “The failure of the assessed ladies’s mHealth apps to fulfill primary information privateness, sharing and safety requirements shouldn’t be ethically or legally acceptable.”
WHY IT MATTERS
The researchers argued that girls’s well being apps specifically can comprise personal information that will come from younger ladies, teenagers and youngsters.
“Given the delicate nature of ladies’s well being, ladies’s mHealth apps ought to follow elevated privateness relatively than the poor practices uncovered on this examine. Furthermore, some ladies’s mHealth apps collected not solely ladies’s delicate information but in addition info on youngsters and infants,” they wrote. “These observations display the complexity of the usual practices of information privateness and consent.”
THE LARGER TREND
After a Supreme Courtroom draft opinion that will overturn Roe v. Wade leaked earlier this month, some privateness and safety consultants have raised concerns that data from period-tracking apps could possibly be used to find out whether or not the consumer has had an abortion.
Privateness considerations have surfaced for femtech apps earlier than. Common interval and fertility monitoring app Flo, which raised $50 million in Series B funding final 12 months, settled with the Federal Commerce Fee in January 2021 concerning a grievance the corporate had shared user data with advertising and marketing and analytics providers at Fb and Google.
In the meantime, although femtech nonetheless makes up a small portion of overall digital health funding, the market has been rising. In its Q1 investment report, Rock Well being famous that reproductive and maternal well being startups moved into the highest six when it comes to scientific focus for the primary time since 2019, scooping up $424 million in financing.