back to article Mozilla finds 18 of 25 popular reproductive health apps share your data

It's official: your period and/or pregnancy tracker will probably share your data with law enforcement. Eighteen of 25 reproductive health apps and wearable devices reviewed by Mozilla received a *Privacy Not Included warning label – meaning they are problematic when it comes to protecting users' privacy and security. This is …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stay out of reach

    I wonder how much a company producing these services can do by just not being based in the US/Poland/Saudi Arabia and thus being able to ignore law enforcement or court requests.

    I know many European businesses typically laugh when some American lawyer moron thinks an appeal to the DMCA works outside the US, why would that be different for requests of user data? The worst that could probably happen is that you may have to stop advertising or direct sales in the US so you can claim your service is not intended for use in the US.

    Any lawyers with international experience in the house?

    1. VoiceOfTruth

      Re: Stay out of reach

      You don't understand the world as it is today. Europe is an American controlled farm, with politicians who answer to the USA rather than their electorates at home. They are nothing more than satraps who like a tasty bone to gnaw on once in a while.

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Stay out of reach

        Correction

        "You don't understand the world as it is today. The UK is an American controlled farm, with politicians who answer to the USA rather than their electorates at home. They are nothing more than satraps who like a tasty bone to gnaw on once in a while.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Play* store ...

      The problem is that such EuroApp needs to be distributed via the Play store which you can guarantee will have T&Cs about complying with US law, or no Play store for you.

      *Other app stores are available.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Stay out of reach

      "I know many European businesses typically laugh when some American lawyer moron thinks an appeal to the DMCA works outside the US,"

      DMCA is one of the US horrible exports that other countries have taken up as a wonderful thing so it's good to check if your country has embraced it or not. Using "lawyer" and "moron" in the same sentence is redundant and I have to agree with the sentiment and point out that it extends to judges who believe that their jurisdiction extends beyond US borders.

  2. VoiceOfTruth

    Women as breeder cattle, rights

    The view from the US supreme "court" is that women are breeder cattle. So much for the "rights" of women. When "rights" can be taken away by any means those are not "rights".

    I wonder how many of those apps are based in the USA. Probably nearly all of them, apart from the mentioned Swedish one. These apps are the Stasi agents of our time, snooping and informing, all within what is called the "framework of the law". We've seen what law means. We've seen slavery laws in the USA. We've seen the laws to disenfranchise voters in the USA. Now it is coming to get people who thought it would never get them.

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Women as breeder cattle, rights

      The view of the US Supreme Court is that the Constitution makes no mention of abortion, so there is therefore no Constitutional right to abortion within it.

      If you wish there to be a Constitutional right to abortion, there is a procedure for making that happen, but it's not just getting a majority of judges agree to pretend it is in there already and to declare it to be so. Creating amendments is the purview of the legislature, not the judiciary.

      1. CrackedNoggin

        Re: Women as breeder cattle, rights

        You make an unfounded logical leap from "The view of the US Supreme Court is ..." to "If you wish there to be a Constitutional right to abortion ...".

        The constitution does say: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

        If we assume the sanctity of life, then it boils down to when does life begin? That is a judgement, not a "fact", but in practice it is often (but not always) a judgement that is dictated by religion. If we subtract the religiously motivated opinions of the supreme court justices, the SC decision to allow states to remove the right to abortion would not have passed.

      2. Cubical Drone

        Re: Women as breeder cattle, rights

        I will just drop the text of the 9th Amendment here:

        "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Women as breeder cattle, rights

          So if a large enough group decides that it's really their non-enumerated right to snort cocaine and screw dead horses, then the Feds should have no say in that?

          1. gandalfcn Silver badge

            Re: Women as breeder cattle, rights

            That's their logic. Well done for exposing it.

          2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Women as breeder cattle, rights

            >right to snort cocaine and screw dead horses

            Sure. The federal government's job is to decide which cocoa derivatives should be a $Bn chain on every corner and which should be a prison sentence ? (results may vary with skin color).

            Of all the things you are allowed to do to a horse, screwing it when dead is probably the least harmful to the horse

      3. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Women as breeder cattle, rights

        "Constitution makes no mention of abortion," So? It makes no mention of millions of other things so that is a total non-argument.

    2. NATTtrash Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Women as breeder cattle, rights

      Being on the breeder cattle side of the divide, I keep coming back to this:

      Why FFS do you need an app? Has the human species become so "lights on but nobody home", so "can't think if it isn't thumb scrollable on that thing that is grown to my hand" that they lost the ability to count days? Count back from 30? (I know, am pushing it, please forgive me, am on a rant here).

      Let me give you a clue: start counting when find something weird in your knickers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Women as breeder cattle, rights

        Spoken like a true man who knows nothing about the female reproductive system.

        If you are trying to conceive, it is very useful to track the days of peak fertility, which can be done very roughly by counting the days since the last period, but as my wife will attest, there is a lot more to it than this, including "piss sticks" which measure hormone levels, and measuring base body temperature at the same time every day. Cycle length can vary quite a lot as well with some women, especially if there is a failed implantation, or "chemical pregnancy".

        1. Scotthva5

          Re: Women as breeder cattle, rights

          Can't the same result be achieved by pen and paper? A handy calendar might suffice.

          1. Loyal Commenter
            FAIL

            Re: Women as breeder cattle, rights

            Do you have a "pen and paper" which can measure levels of luteinising hormone?

            Nah, didn't think so.

        2. NATTtrash Silver badge

          Re: Women as breeder cattle, rights

          Spoken like a true man who knows nothing about the female reproductive system.

          @AC: Sorry, but please read the comment again: I spoke about on the breeder cattle side of the divide.

          So female here, although that seems to be the exception here. And no, I didn't throw a fit about being labelled like that, because I think we all know this is ElReg and we appreciate tongue in cheek.

          But if you want to be condescending, please don't prove it by being a typical male by only listing (reading) marginally (oh dear, yes, that was a stereotypical remark too!)

          And FYI, although I have so much "female experience" that I can tell you what happens after your hormonal levels drop indefinitely, I seem to have enjoyed an education which qualifies me to treat people like you when you come into my practice with a question mark on your face.

  3. Scott Broukell

    Hmmm . . . just how long might it be, ahead of the next US presidential election, before certain republican states seriously consider giving a month old fetus the vote? You can vote just the same ways your mom and dad vote too! Now ain't that a thing!

    1. DJO Silver badge

      It might not go quite the way they expect.

      A survey of male republicans asked the question "if there was an election today how would you vote?" gave surprising results, overall there was 8% swing to the Dems which is roughly inline with normal swings however men who are parents had a 28% swing to the Dems.

      It seems they are not so happy about their daughters losing the right to determine their own sexual health.

      If the same kind of swing is replicated across all the USA (unlikely but we can hope), the Republicans are dead in the water. So expect some backpedaling when it finally dawns on the GOP that crushing Roe vs Wade is not the humongous vote winner they thought it would be.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        To be honest, I think the Republicans knew all along that three quarters of Americans support reproductive rights. It's not about vote winning for them because where they are going they don't need any votes.

        I thought this was quite an interesting analysis about how the US is essentially moving towards being two countries but where the smaller country controls the larger country: America is Growing Apart, Possibly For Good

      2. Pirate Dave Silver badge

        "If the same kind of swing is replicated across all the USA (unlikely but we can hope), the Republicans are dead in the water."

        Maybe, maybe not. Polls aren't very good indicators of elections anymore, or we'd have had 4 (more) years of Billary instead of Papa Trump. Cheney didn't do too well in Wyoming the other day, so there is still a sizeable and clamorous contingent within the Republican party, and it's not hard to see most of those being the same ones that celebrated the SCOTUS decision the other month. My feeling is that "abortion" as a topic was less an issue among Republicans at large than among Democrats, because most of us dumb white guys who vote Republican just don't give a shit one way or the other. Abortion is/was a big issue among the bible-thumping Republicans, but, contrary to current popular belief, not all of us are bible-thumpers, maybe not even "most" of us anymore.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      M-ake

      A-merica

      G-estate

      A-gain

      1. el_oscuro
        Devil

        Actually, try searching:

        Mothers

        Against

        Gregg

        Abbott

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >Republican states seriously consider giving a month old fetus the vote

      Or if I have 20frozen embryos stored in the state that offers the best dependency tax deduction

  4. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Is the real concern at Mozilla over reproductive health or are they more worried about not being able to buy guns? America is weird.

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      Mozilla is worried about privacy - full stop.

      Reproductive health apps are a good counter to the "nothing to hide" brigade, because a few months ago, there was no fear-based reason to hide your reproductive health, now there is.

      The guns reference was because the "pro-life" crowd who see nothing wrong with forced gestation would have an absolute fit over losing access to guns; and you have to draw those lines very clearly.

  5. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    Just a thought ...

    Women have, for thousands of years, been able to manage their pregnancies without using a computer to do so. The privacy-related downsides of these things seem far-worse than any potential benefits.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: Just a thought ...

      But...but...but...it's shiny....

      1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Just a thought ...

        I know, right? Bitches, so stupid and superficial. They just need some men on the internet to set them straight.

  6. el_oscuro

    My advise to women

    1. Delete all pregnancy/period track apps. In fact, delete all of those crappy apps your doctor wants you to install for appointments. Half the time they don't work, and you can do everything you need to on their website or over the phone.

    2. Delete any other apps you don't really need or use much. You won't miss them.

    3. Remove location services from every app except your GPS and/or map app if you use them. And lock those down too, only allowing location services when you are using the app.

    4. Your weather app does not need location services, and if it has it, it is is probably selling your real time location (within a few meters) to anyone who wants it, plus all of the other creepy tracking. The National Weather Service is the source of all of this weather data and they have their own app with no location services, nor ads. Or you can just set a bookmark in your browser to weather.gov. I'm pretty sure the Met Office has one too.

    5. Should you need reproductive services, do any searching with Duck-duck-go from a public terminal like in a library. For added protection (against both COVID and snooping cameras), wear a mask. Leave your phone at home.

    6. When traveling out of state, leave your phone at home. If you need a phone, get a cheap burner one and pay for it with cash.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: My advise to women

      And don't forget to thank D*g you are living in a free country

      1. Loyal Commenter

        Re: My advise to women

        Land of The Free*

        *Restrictions apply. Freedom may vary with skin colour, gender, and socio-economic group.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: My advise to women

      7. Turn off Data, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use.

    3. Coastal cutie
      Thumb Up

      Re: My advise to women

      I'd say that quite a lot of your advice could usefully be followed by any phone user, regardless of sex

      1. nobody who matters Bronze badge

        Re: My advise to women

        I would also add, that in the case of the majority of smartphone users, they would have no clue how to do so.

  7. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Cloudy badness

    The vast majority of "Apps" are just a novelty to hoover up data from you. I believe that it's a really bad idea to keep any sensitive information on your phone at all. They are just way too easy to get stolen or go missing. Must you have account access to your retirement funds 24/7? Why should your complete health file be on your phone? A woman wanting to track her reproductive health could do just as well with a spreadsheet and I'm sure there are a few online for free or a nominal price that don't relay the data to anybody.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Cloudy badness

      Thanks for mansplaining, bro.

    2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      "... with a spreadsheet ..."

      How about " ... with handwriten notes on a paper calendar ... "??

      My mom used to encode (not "encrypt") such personal data by writing it in Gregg shorthand. That was good enough to keep nosey menfolk and children ignorant of the true data.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: "... with a spreadsheet ..."

        "My mom used to encode (not "encrypt") such personal data by writing it in Gregg shorthand."

        With a spreadsheet, it's easy to graph things with just a couple of clicks.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mozilla's claim to be worried about privacy is somewhat undermined by the fact Firefox installs a Windows service to report home on your default browser (https://firefox-source-docs.mozilla.org/toolkit/mozapps/defaultagent/default-browser-agent/index.html), plus the telemetry and other usage data Firefox collects by default.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    18 of 25 popular reproductive health apps didn't bribe enough?

    Perhaps Mozilla believes 18 of 25 popular reproductive health apps didn't bribe Mozilla enough compared to the 7 that did?

    Example: Despite the fact that Fitbit sends it's data to Google, Fitbit isn't marked as "*privacy not included". Isn't Google a major contributor to Mozilla?

  10. gandalfcn Silver badge

    I'm surprised it was only 18.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yep, looks like 7 app publishers are missing out on their fair share of the pie...

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