No Body's Business But Mine - What You Can Do If You Are A Menstruation App User

News & Analysis

Photo by Jake Hills on Unsplash

Our research has shown how some apps like Maya by Plackal Tech and MIA by Mobbap Development Limited were – at the time of the research – sharing your most intimate data about your sexual life and medical history with Facebook.

Other apps like Mi Calendario, Ovulation Calculator by Pinkbird and Linchpin Health were letting Facebook know every time you open the app.

We think companies like theses should do better and we are pleased to see some of them have already started changing their practices. But there are a few things you can do.

Not having a Facebook account does not spare you   

We wish we could tell you that not having a Facebook account protects you from Facebook tracking you. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Our report shows that your data is shared with Facebook before you even get to agree to the privacy policy of the app you are using. The data is shared with your unique advertiser ID so Facebook knows who you are, even if you don’t have an account or use a different name.

Last month, Facebook launched a tool for its users to allow them to stop Facebook from tracking them on other apps. That is a good first step, but it only protects Facebook users.

But there are steps you can take to limit tracking

These steps may not affect the kind of tracking we have described in our report, but they will help to protect your privacy by limiting how much your data can be used for profiling and advertising.

If you are an Android user:

  • Reset your advertising ID regularly – this won’t stop you from being tracked and profiled, but it can temporarily limit the invasiveness of your profile. This can be found on most Android devices under: Settings > Google > Ads > Reset Advertising ID.
  • Limit ad personalization by opting out in the Android settings. This can be found on most Android devices under: Settings > Google > Ads > Opt out of personalized advertising.
  • Regularly review the permissions that you have given to different apps and limit them to what it strictly necessary. Permissions can be found on most Android devices under: Settings > Apps or Application Manager (depending on your device, this may look different) > tap the app you want to review > Permissions. For example, setting apps that collect location information, to collect this information not “always” but only “when in use” etc.

In the meantime, we will carry on campaigning for apps to do a lot better and protect your privacy. Check out our social media accounts if you want to join us, and make sure app developers listen!