Period-tracking apps look for opportunities to monetise personal data


By January 2019, more than 100 million women worldwide were using smartphone apps that began as period-tracking apps but were beginning to branch out into tracking other types of health data - and also to broaden their use of the data they collect in search or profit. Unlike medical establishments and personnel, apps do not have to meet the privacy standards of laws such as the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Some persist in asking for more detail; others, such as Natural Cycles, claim - as it turned out, wrongly - to be able to help women prevent pregnancy. Still others offer extra analytics for a subscription fee. Without regulation, many are likely to turn to targeted advertising.

Writer: Naomi Kresge, Ilya Khrennikov, and David Ramli
Publication: Bloomberg Businessweek

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