Data Security
Period tracking apps collect information about the user’s health, sexual life, mood and more and tell you what day of the month you’re most fertile or the date of your next period.

Menstruation and period tracking apps, which have become very popular over the past few years, are reportedly sharing extensive sensitive personal data with third parties, including Facebook, a study by Privacy International has found. The study looked at various period tracking apps, including popular ones such as Maya, MIA, My Period Tracker, Ovulation Calculation, Period Tracker and Mi Calendario.

Period tracking apps collect information about the user’s health, sexual life, mood and more and tell you what day of the month you’re most fertile or the date of your next period.

“In fact, the data you share with your menstruation app is probably information you would not share with others. We, therefore, wanted to make sure that they keep this information to themselves, rather than sharing it with other companies,” the study states.

While many apps did not appear to share any data with Facebook, Maya and MIA were found to be sharing extensive data with third parties, including Facebook.

Maya

Maya by Plackal Tech has over 5 million downloads on Google Play Store. This app asks you to share your mood, some symptoms such as weight gain, nausea, etc. It also lets you input the last time you had sex, took a contraceptive and even encourages you to keep notes.

However, the study revealed that Maya informs Facebook when you open the app. “There is already a lot of information Facebook can assume from that simple notification: that you are probably a woman, probably menstruating, possibly trying to have (or trying to avoid having) a baby. Moreover, even though you are asked to agree to their privacy policy, Maya starts sharing data with Facebook before you get to agree to anything. This raises some serious transparency concerns,” the study notes.

While Maya’s privacy policy says that no personal data is disclosed to advertisers, it then states that users' personal data may be used “to comply with advertisers’ wishes” by displaying their advertisement to that target audience.

This would mean that advertisers use this data to understand your mood and send you ads accordingly.

The study also found that even the most sensitive information shared on Maya is shared with Facebook. It also found that all the data is also shared with another third party wzrkt.com.

Wzrkt is “Wizard Rocket”, the former name of a company now known as CleverTap.

MIA Fem

MIA Fem by Mobapp Development Limited has over 1 million downloads on Google Play Store. The behaviour of this app too, was found to be similar to Maya’s in terms of sharing data with Facebook.

“Like Maya, MIA wants you to agree to their privacy policy when you first sign up, but they don’t wait for you to agree to start sharing your data with Facebook. Data about you and your device are relayed to Facebook the moment you open the app, thereby letting them know you are using a menstruation app,” the study notes.

And, just like Maya, Facebook is not the only third party that will get access to your data if you use MIA. All your data is also shared with AppsFlyer, which is a service that ‘enables app owners to analyse and interpret the performance of their marketing efforts’.

In response to the study, Maya told Privacy International it has hence removed both the Facebook core SDK and Analytics SDK from Maya. Version 3.6.7.7 with these changes is live on the Google Play Store and will be submitted for review to the Apple App Store by this weekend.

“We continue to use the Facebook Ad SDK, post opt-in to our terms and conditions and privacy policy. Maya does not share any personally identifiable data or medical data with the Facebook Ad SDK. The Ad SDK helps us earn revenue by displaying ads that our users can opt-out of by subscribing to Maya's premium subscription,” it added.