The UPHOLD Privacy Act aims to expand the protection of health information

A new Senate bill aims to expand health data protections.

After Roe’s reversal, activists and privacy experts began warning app users to delete their apps. Users would log their periods, which would allow the app to learn a person’s cycle and predict their fertility windows and prompt users when they might need to take a pregnancy test. Privacy experts have raised concerns about the possibility that data collected by these apps could be used to identify people seeking abortions in states where abortion has been banned and criminalized. The new bill, entitled Upholding Protections for Health and Online Location Data (UPHOLD) Privacy Act, aims to prevent this.


Period apps in a post-Roe world: what you need to know

If passed, the law would give consumers more ownership of their health data and limit the ability of companies to collect or use personal health information without consumers’ consent. In addition, it would prohibit the use of personal data for advertising, whether collected from consumers, fitness trackers, medical centers, or browsing history.

The bill was introduced by Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren and Mazie Hirono. “Since Roe’s reversal, data brokers and technology firms have continued to benefit from the private health and location data of millions of Americans, including those seeking reproductive health services,” Warren said in a statement.(Opens in a new tab) “The UPHOLD Privacy Act would protect consumers’ sensitive information and their right to privacy.”

After Roe’s reversal, many period tracking apps have made updates and issued statements assuring users’ data is safe — Flo introduced “anonymous mode” that removes identifiable user information, Glow said it never did user data sold and never will sell, and Stardust announced that it is end-to-end encryption for all users — but it remains to be seen what would happen if law enforcement requested the sharing of app data for period tracking.

“As Republicans work to ban and criminalize reproductive health care statewide, it is critical that we protect the privacy of everyone in our country,” Hirono said in a statement. “Everyone should be confident that personal information about their body and healthcare is protected.”

The law was just introduced, in the meantime, here’s how you can donate to abortion funds and reproductive justice networks across the country.

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