KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WWMT) — Women across the country are deleting period tracking apps off their devices.
Period tracking apps are used to predict a woman's cycle. Following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to leave the right to an abortion up to individual states, some are worried law enforcement may try to access data from these apps when investigating whether someone had an illegal abortion.
"I'm very concerned that my loved ones could face prosecution just using an app that's meant for their health and wellness and future conversations with their physician," said Kelly MacDonald, of Michigan.
It's hard to predict how these apps may impact women in Michigan until its highest court makes a decision on abortion rights in the state.
Right now most abortions are illegal in the state under a 1931 law. However, no one can be prosecuted because of a temporary state court injunction preventing that law from taking effect.
In the meantime, Sara Murray, assistant professor of Digital Technology and History at the University of Michigan, said many apps are giving users new options to remain anonymous, coupled with promises to do their best to protect data.
"There's a lot of promise in the ways it can make your life more efficient," Murray said. "While at the same time, keeping in mind the tradeoffs in that promise."
That vulnerability is still present, though, according to Murray. For example, data breaches may occur or that data could even be subpoenaed.
"There's also confusion around when data collection happens. There are two levels of confusion there. One is in how the data is collected," she said. "Right now we're seeing a lot of these femme tech apps being very proactive about saying that they do not share or sell data, at least not identifiable data."
This is why many are choosing to remove the apps from their devices, entirely.