Natural Cycles contraceptive app's data collection falls outside health privacy rules


In August 2018 the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first over-the-counter digital contraceptive, an app called Natural Cycles. The app, which analyses basal body temperature readings and monthly menstruation data to determine whether unprotected sex is likely to lead to pregnancy, sparked many public complaints of inaccuracy. Users pay $80 a year or $10 a month to use the app. However, the app's privacy policy also awards the Swedish maker broad rights to reuse and share the data it collects, and its users may not realise that the app is not covered by HIPAA, which protects health data in the US. The company says it has no intention of sharing the data with third parties. It does, however, share anonymised and aggregated data with regulators, including the FDA, and, after obtaining approval from an ethical review board, with academic research partners in the US and Sweden. The company intends to collaborate with Merck, a major world supplier of fertility drugs, on a Swedish project to find out whether Natural Cycles' data can spot early signs of infertility. 

https://www.wired.The first com/story/natural-cycles-birth-control-app-privacy/

writer: Megan Moltenin
publication: Wired

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