Menstruation App’s Attack Users’ Personal Data, Study Reveals

The data includes private information about your sex life.


A recent study conducted by Privacy International, reveals that popular menstruation apps are potentially leaking information that has been privately input by daily users. As technology is now a huge part of the modern lifestyle, we can take advantage of the practical uses made readily available to us by the push of a button. Many women are now using menstruation apps, which help to track when your period will be due, preventing that ungodly ‘OMG my period has started’ panic (let's face it, we’ve all been there).

That time of the month can be a real hindrance to your daily routine, so these apps are graced by women across the globe, to make their periods a little easier to manage. The following report from BuzzFeedNews also confirmed that apps such as Maya, MIA, My Period Tracker, and Ovulation Calculator were sharing their user’s tracking data with third-parties including Facebook. 

These apps ask personal questions about multiple lifestyle habits, including your sex life, drinking habits, smoking habits and your moods – the kind of juicy gossip you’d share with your best friend over a few Friday night cocktails. Data is then fed to their chosen third parties for various uses, for example, Facebook, which then will tailor and strategically time its ads for when you’re in the mood to buy something or may need a particular product – creepy, right?

The report claims “When Maya asks you to enter how you feel and offers suggestions of symptoms you might have - suggestions like blood pressure, swelling or acne – one would hope this data would be treated with extra care, but no, that information is shared with Facebook”. The app is reported to have over 5 million downloads on Google Play, with MIA following up with two million over the world. 

Apps like these can raise worrying questions about how much we, as users, can consent to knowingly, in regards to our personal information. Let’s be real, no one can be bothered to sit and read 15 pages of terms and conditions when you click download. A spokesperson on behalf of Facebook told Privacy International “We have systems in place to detect and delete certain types of data such as Social Security Numbers, passwords, and other personal data, such as email or phone number. We have begun looking at ways to improve our system and products to detect and filter out more types of potentially sensitive data.”

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