Period tracking app Flo has decided to add a new “Anonymous Mode” feature to allow users to remove personal data such as names, email identifiers, and technical identifiers from their profiles.
The move comes on the heels of the Supreme Court ruling overturning Raw vs. WadeThis has raised concerns that period-tracking apps could be used by law enforcement to access data and prosecute those seeking abortions.
The app released a statement saying that the “Anonymous Mode” feature had already been planned but that the rollout process had been expedited in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortions.
“Flo will always advocate for women’s health, and this includes providing our users with complete control over their data,” Flo’s data protection officer Susanne Schumacher is quoted by NPR as saying.
“Flo will never share or sell user data, and we will only collect data when we have a legal basis to do so and when users give their informed consent. Any data we collect is fully encrypted, and this will never change.”
The app sent an email to all its users on June 29 informing them of the feature and said it will be made available in the coming weeks.
Schumacher added that once a user activates anonymous mode, their account will be stripped of personal identifiers.
“If Flo receives an official request to identify a user by name or email, Anonymous Mode will prevent us from being able to communicate data to an individual, which means we will not be able to fulfill the request,” the email read.
The app informed users that they can request that all their personal information be deleted from the app by sending an email to customer support.
Flo previously came under fire for sharing its users’ data. that Investigation by The Wall Street Journal It was found that the app notified Facebook when the user was menstruating or if they intended to become pregnant.
Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reached a Settlement with Flo Last year after it alleged in a complaint that Flo promised to keep user health data private and only use it to provide the app’s services to users but the app instead “disclosed health data from millions of users of its Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker app to ‘third parties'”.
The FTC noted that these third parties “provided marketing and analytics services to the Application, including the Facebook Analytics Division, Google Analytics Division, Google Fabric, AppsFlyer, and Flurry.”
Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Office of Consumer Protection, said at the time that consumers “need to be able to trust” apps that “collect, use, and share sensitive health information.”
“We are closely examining whether health app developers keep their promises and treat sensitive health information responsibly,” he said.