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Verify | Could your period tracker be used against you in court?

Civil Rights Attorney Greg Simms says very few people pay attention to what they're agreeing to when they download apps.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Social media is flooded with people asking questions about living in a post-Roe v. Wade world.

And some of the claims say women should delete period tracking apps to protect their reproductive data from being used against them in court if they ever had an abortion.

So WHAS11 is trying to help make sense of the laws.

Question

Could your period tracker data be used against you in court?

Sources

  • Civil Rights Attorney Greg Simms
  • Period tracker apps Flo Health and Clue

Answer

Yes. Simms says if abortion cases head to trial, your app could be used in court.

What we found

"For users of the period tracker apps you're putting a lot of personal information in there," Simms said. "And if abortion is criminalized in the state that you live in, then what you could be is putting evidence against yourself into that app."

He says there's two things people who use these apps need to know. First, very few people actually pay attention to what they are agreeing to when they download apps. Second, law enforcement has a track record of getting information from cell phones to use as evidence.

However, he did say some apps do try harder to keep your information private.

"There are some companies that are more stringent or more adamant about keeping the data that they have private within the company," he said.

Now apps are responding and assuring users they're keeping health information safe.

Flo Health said it would soon launch an "anonymous mode" to remove personal identity from accounts.

Clue also made a statement saying data is "private and safe" with data encryption.

But both admitted they do share a little data with service providers who process data on the apps' behalf.

But, Simms says, things are still evolving and it's hard to pinpoint where privacy rights stand right now especially when Justice Clarence Thomas said it's time to look into other privacy precedents.

"It's the wild wild west right now. When they write these opinions, I think they do so without much regard to digital technology and, and how we'll bear on that," Simms said.

So, yes, if you are tracking your personal information on a period tracking app, it's realistic that law enforcement could use that as evidence in a criminal abortion case.

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