Interval monitoring app settles costs it lied to customers about privateness
A well-liked interval and fertility monitoring app has settled with the Federal Commerce Fee over allegations that it lied to customers about sharing personal well being data with third-party companies, together with Fb and Google. Flo, a interval and ovulation monitoring app, has greater than 100 million customers.
Within the grievance, the FTC alleges Flo advised customers their data could be saved personal. Then it shared their delicate well being information, together with the dates of their durations and their being pregnant plans, with outdoors firms that offered advertising and marketing and analytics providers to the app. It additionally did not restrict how this information could be used.
The transfer may have allowed Fb to match delicate well being data with customers’ profiles and goal adverts at them extra successfully. As some customers are extra keen to share personal data with an app like Flo than a serious social community, the disclosures can really feel invasive.
“Apps that accumulate, use, and share delicate well being data can present invaluable providers, however customers want to have the ability to belief these apps,” stated Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Client Safety. “We’re wanting carefully at whether or not builders of well being apps are holding their guarantees and dealing with delicate well being data responsibly.”
Information of the settlement follows a 2019 report from The Wall Avenue Journal, which revealed that Flo was secretly sharing delicate consumer information with Fb.
A 2019 examine revealed in JAMA Community Open additionally confirmed that apps marketed to folks with melancholy or who needed to stop smoking had been sharing well being information with Fb and Google as effectively.
As a part of the settlement, Flo has to inform customers about how their private data was shared and ask for his or her permission earlier than sharing extra data sooner or later. The corporate additionally has to obtain an unbiased audit of its privateness practices.
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