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Men are downloading period tracking apps to 'cause chaos' following the overturning of Roe v Wade.
Now, those who don’t menstruate have taken it upon themselves to download menstruation trackers with the aim of inputting baseless and unusable data into these apps.
They are hoping that gathering a collection of 'inaccurate' data on such apps will prevent real data on periods, miscarriages and terminations from women, non-binary people and trans men from being shared with authorities and being used to prosecute them.
One social media user tweeted: “I’m a cis man who just downloaded a period tracking app because if there’s anything I love it’s causing chaos.
“To clarify, this will likely do nothing to aid individuals who are subpoenaed themselves.
“The goal of this is to mess up data so that any law enforcement agency that purchases a database would have to waste significant resources in cleaning it up before using it,” they explained.
Another echoed: “For the sake of chaos and a big f*** the government mentality, I’ll be downloading and creating false accounts for period tracking apps. I implore my fellow men to do the same. F**k their data.”
I’m a cis man who just downloaded a period tracking app because if there’s anything I love it’s causing chaos— Santiago Mayer (@santiagomayer_) June 27, 2022
To clarify, this will likely do nothing to aid individuals who are subpoenaed themselves.— Santiago Mayer (@santiagomayer_) June 27, 2022
The goal of this is to mess up data so that any law enforcement agency that purchases a database would have to waste significant resources in cleaning it up before using it.
i have been informed that men can help the cause by using period tracking apps pic.twitter.com/X5t7ydXbIf— ☮💚🎨 (@bklynmike3) June 27, 2022
Fellow men:— Great Value™ Hank Green (@JStrongBad) June 27, 2022
Download a couple or a few period tracking apps and GO. CRAZY.
Make them erratic and nonsensical.
Bonus points if you understand menstrual cycles but MAKE THEM TERRIBLE ANYWAY.
Completely skew the numbers.
“Fellow men: Download a couple or a few period tracking apps and GO. CRAZY,” someone else encouraged.
“Make them erratic and nonsensical. Bonus points if you understand menstrual cycles but MAKE THEM TERRIBLE ANYWAY. Completely skew the numbers.”
Someone else wrote: "Men are asking, what can we do? 1. March with the women in your life.
2. Download period tracker apps & mess up their accuracy. (Periods every 15 days, then 28 days, then none for 3 months, then restart & see if someone comes calling) 3. Support advocacy groups #abortionrights.”
A digital expert at ProPrivacy has confirmed that inputting 'erratic and nonsensical' data into these apps may help prevent real data from being used so easily by the authorities.
Ray Walsh told Tyla: "By downloading and using period tracking apps to add static to cycle tracking databases that could be leveraged by law enforcement to find women suspected of having a termination, men can help to support this important cause by potentially making it harder for the authorities to pinpoint women suspected of having an abortion.
"While the potential exists for large-scale menstrual-cycle-app data analysis to be used to find women suspected of having an abortion, it seems more likely that women already suspected of termination will have their cycle tracking data analysed to mount a case against them. Unfortunately, under these circumstances, the false account data created by men will have little effect.
"If US authorities successfully find a way to use automated systems like AI to analyse data en masse, there is a real danger that even the additional static created by fake accounts will not be enough to prevent genuine abortion cases from being singled out," Ray explained.
"That said, there is no doubt that additional fake data points in any system can make those datasets much harder to navigate and make sense of, meaning that the efforts of men to provide false entries and accounts can theoretically benefit women across America, and will certainly do no harm.
However, despite the good intentions of some men who want to step forward and become an ally while this scary situation unfolds, Ray worries that not 'enough men' will be 'motivated' to make a difference.
He said: "While it is great to see men wanting to show support for women’s abortion rights following this horrific decision, the chances of motivating enough men to download and use menstrual cycle apps (and to keep using them long term) in order to have a real effect on genuine datasets seem low.
"In the long term, the government knows that any efforts to sift through menstrual cycle app data has the potential to bear fruit, and with abortion becoming a prosecutable offense in multiple states; the will to use this data to find suspects will be high."
Following the bill being overturned, many apps like Flo, Clue and Natural Cycles have released statements to reassure their users that their data is safe.
Clue said on Twitter: “We are, and always have been, committed to protecting your private health data. Your tracked experience should empower you, whatever your private health decisions. We will never enable anyone to use it against you. #RoevWade.”
“We charge a subscription in order to protect you and your data,” Natural Cycles wrote on the social media platform. “We will never sell your data because our users' privacy is paramount to us.”
Meanwhile, Flo has vowed to launch “an anonymous mode that removes your personal identity from your Flo account, so that no one can identify you.”
Previously, Ray Walsh, another digital privacy expert at the digital freedom platform told Tyla he believed that fears surrounding cycle-tracking apps are legitimate.
"There appears to be a real danger that if anti-abortion laws are passed in the US, menstrual cycle tracking app data could potentially be exploited to place women under surveillance and single them out if they become pregnant and are later suspected of terminating their pregnancy,” he told Tyla.
“The stark reality is that while cycle tracking apps can be useful, they also harbour serious privacy risks. Any woman who uses a menstrual cycle tracking app could expose herself to the potential that her data might later be exploited to mount a case against her if she suffers a legitimate miscarriage.”
You can read more on the risks associated with these apps here.
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