After a leaked Supreme Court majority opinion draft on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization indicated their intention to overturn 1973's Roe v. Wade SCOTUS ruling, the country has been preparing for a drastic changes in reproductive rights.
Several red states already vowed to limit access to contraception if the SCOTUS draft ruling stands.
A viral thread is now drawing attention to the way people are using apps to track their menstrual cycles, holding out these apps can be evidence used against them once the draft opinion is finalized and officially released, removing all federal protections for reproductive rights.
Twitter user Elizabeth C. McLaughlin (@ECMcLaughlin) posted these apps—though useful for many in monitoring their cycles and determining fertility and pregnancy status—ought to now be deleted.
"If you are using an online period tracker or tracking your cycles through your phone, get off it and delete your data."
McLaughlin explained the data entered into these apps is discoverable by authorities.
In states where reproductive rights are limited or abortion is outlawed outright, such information could be used to possibly prosecute people.
"Let me make something very clear to everyone in the retweets wondering why."
"Peter Thiel has already sold data tracking the locations of marginalized people to the government ..."
"If you think that your data showing when you last menstruated isn't of interest to those who are about to outlaw abortion, whew do I have a wakeup call for YOU."
Combine that with location tracking information and when you last menstruated and where you are seeking healthcare and you have a target on your back ...
And by the way, if you have used Flo, Zuckerberg and Co already have your cycle tracked.
McLaughlin shared a New York Times article which detailed the way the data from these apps is collected by Facebook if they are linked.
The activist further detailed in her thread this is not a new concept. She pointed out the Department of Homeland Security is infamous for tapping into this kind of data to prosecute marginalized groups, specifically immigrants and undocumented residents.
Her message brought a new wave of panic amongst those affected.
One person posted:
"OMG [I] hadn’t thought about that. My teenage daughter!"
Another person looked into their app's terms of service.
The results were not promising.
"Just checked the app I use and the parent company’s website links to its privacy policies and terms of service are BLANK."
McLaughlin also mentioned where data may not be otherwise retrievable, it is always subject to government subpoenas, another reason she suggested people get off these apps immediately amid the up-and-coming reversal of the century.
McLaughlin—a lawyer— was besieged with questions from concerned people who rely on these apps.
One person tweeted at her:
"Closely tracking cycles will never be more important though."
"This may be an asinine question, but could hard copy calendar tracking be subpoenaed?"
Use and then discard the paper calendars.
The thread created a call to action amongst people.
Many fear these precautions are just the beginning for a post-Roe era.