Image credits: Boris Zharkov
More than 10 million women worldwide use Ovia’s fertility and pregnancy tracking apps to receive personalized advice and information by inputting daily data about their mood, symptoms, weight, and more. What is less obvious is that apps like Ovia provide aggregate data about their users to employers and health insurers. In April 2019, The Washington Post revealed that a version of the Ovia app enabled employers to access their workers’ intimate personal data – including info about their sexual activity, miscarriages, and more.
Other popular women’s health apps have faced scrutiny over leaked or easily accessible private data, providing unreliable birth control information, exposing detailed bodily information to their partners, and sharing data about sexual activity with large platforms including Facebook. While this kind of personalized data and advice is valuable for individual women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, their aggregated data is often sold, shared, or analyzed.