Popular fertility application, Premom has been found to have been selling user data to Chinese analytics firms without consent. The story was first reported by The Washington Post on Thursday.
Nonprofit consumer watchdog, The International Digital Accountability Council (IDAC) found that the Android app might have broken state and federal laws by sharing its users’ information with three Chinese analytic firms; Jiguang, UMSNS, and Umeng.
Following its findings, IDAC sent letters to the Federal Trade Commission (FCT) and the Illinois Attorney General as well as Google. It appeared that Premom had shared users’ unique device identifiers which, according to The Verge, “could help them follow users’ activities across other apps and websites”. Due to the fact users were unable to opt-out of the tracking and were unaware of the use of their data, Premom is in potential violation of state and federal law.
Premom is one of the top pregnancy apps on both Android and Google Play, and brands itself a method of helping people “get pregnant quickly and naturally,” according to Extreme Tech. In order to do so, Premom users are asked to upload details about their sexual health.
In a comment to the Post, Premom said it had revoked Jiguang’s access to the data and it does not “currently” work with Umeng or UMSNS. Though the IDAC confirmed the former, it also found that Premom had been sharing data with the latter two since at least mid-June.
As Extreme Tech points out, pregnancy is a medical condition and an extremely personal matter. Considering some employers might have biased views about pregnancy, “pregnancy apps have no business selling location data under any circumstances whatsoever”.
Premom was removed from the Google Play Store for apparently unrelated reasons, and it’s unclear whether changes were made before it was allowed back on, although Google said that it did violate its policies. The Illinois Attorney General is currently reviewing the letter sent by IDAC and the FTC is yet to comment.