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Flo App launching ‘Anonymous Mode’ soon

Flo app used by over 230 million women around the globe announced on Twitter that the company will be launching a new “anonymous mode” soon. This came soon after the Supreme Court of the United States of America decided to overturn the famous Roe v. Wade judgement.

According to Flo, the new anonymous mode can help keep users’ personal data safe in any circumstances.

Flo app, founded in 2015 by Flo Health, Inc. is widely used by women in the United States to keep track of their menstruation cycle and ovulation cycle.

Judgement by the US Supreme Court in the case of Roe v. Wade in 1973 was considered the foundation of abortion rights in the United States. Court the ruled that constitution of the United States generally protects a pregnant lady’s liberty to choose for abortion.

Yesterday, in a historic decision, Supreme Court voted 6-3 to overturn Roe v. Wade judgement. This meant that abortion was no longer considered a constitutional right in the United States.

Soon after the decision, panic struck and people start to call for deleting period tracking apps in fear of surveillance and data privacy.

Privacy advocates and several legal experts opined that data from the period tracking apps such as Flo and others can be used by investigators in future cases related to abortion. Such data could even be used against defendants in courts.

There are also fears among the general populace that the new move by the supreme court will result in states making new laws. And there are high chances such anti-abortion laws might have clauses making it mandatory for period tracking companies to hand over personal data for legal investigations.

All these assumptions and fears have led to an increase in calls for removing personal data from such apps and services and to uninstall period tracking apps.

So far there has not been any confirmation or details from Flo Health, Inc regarding how will the anonymous mode works or to what extent the data will be safe.
Privacy Issues with Flo App
Flo has earlier been under fire for failing to protect the privacy of app users.
In 2019, The Wall Street Journal published a report stating that the Flo app shared sensitive information about users, including data about the menstrual cycle, to third parties. These third parties included Facebook, Google etc.
This exchange of data between Flo App and tech companies was without the consent or authorization of the users.
Even though the company did not admit to any wrongdoing, Flo App reached a settlement with Federal Trade Commission in  2021 regarding the data privacy issue.

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