Protecting Privacy In The Digitalisation Of Reproductive Healthcare

We work with others to ensure protection of and stop the exploitation of patient data because accessing reproductive healthcare should not require giving up your human rights, including privacy.

All about PI’s work on reproductive rights and privacy

As access to reproductive healthcare becomes increasingly digitalised, companies and governments must ensure that the digital systems are built with people's human rights considered and protected.

There has been a notable increase in the digitalisation of health initiatives across the world. Accessing reproductive healthcare oftentimes requires interacting with a digitalised system that in some way collects vast amounts of personal information. For example, digital initiatives such as SMS appointment scheduling, remote access to care and counselling, health workers using a mobile phone to track an individual pregnant mother over the cycle of pregnancy, or a child over his/her cycle of immunization, and the use of mobile applications, sensors, wearable devices and others, all collect personal information.

But those developing these systems do not always consider the impact they will have on those who will use the systems, and how best to protect the information once it's collected.

The absence of human rights considerations, including privacy, in the implementation of these types of services can cause short- and long-term harm to the people trying to access the services.

This campaign aims to bring attention to digital health initiatives that have failed to consider the impact of these systems, and how to ensure they protect and respect the rights of those they serve.

We advocate for changes to be made to those systems and for the development of future systems to take a human rights-based approach. Like in many other sectors, technology can help and contribute to improving the rights of people. But with it also come risks, especially if a system is poorly designed, whether intentionally or not.