Fertility app fined $200,000 for leaking customer health data | CNN Business
The company behind a popular fertility app has agreed to pay $200,000 in federal and state fines after authorities alleged it shared users’ personal health information for years without their consent, including in Google and two companies based in China.
The app, known as Premom, will also be prohibited from sharing personal health information for advertising purposes and must ensure that data it shared without users’ consent is removed from third-party systems, according to the Federal Trade Commission, along with with the lawyers. general of Connecticut, District of Columbia and Oregon.
Wednesday’s proposed settlement to Premom highlights how regulators have stepped up scrutiny of fertility trackers and health information in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year that struck down federal protections for the abortion
The sharing of personal data allegedly affected hundreds of thousands of Premom users from at least 2018 to 2020 and violated a federal regulation known as the Health Breach Notification Rule, according to an FTC complaint against Easy Healthcare, the parent company of Premom.
Premom did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In addition, Premom allegedly shared location information and device identifiers, such as WiFi network names and hardware identifiers, with two China-based data analytics companies known as Jiguang and Umeng, according to the complaint That information, the FTC alleged, “could be used to identify Premom users and reveal to third parties that those users were using a fertility app,” according to an FTC complaint filed against Easy Healthcare, the company matrix of Premom.
Since the decision of the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson, a wave of anti-abortion legislation has raised the possibility that fertility apps, search engines and other technology platforms could be forced to hand over user data in potential prosecutions of abortion claimants.
“Now more than ever, with reproductive rights under attack across the country, it is essential that the privacy of health care decisions be vigorously protected,” D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb said in a statement. “My office will continue to ensure that companies protect consumers’ personal information to protect against unlawful encroachment on access to effective reproductive health care.”
Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s office of consumer protection, said the agency “will not tolerate abuses of health privacy.”
“Premom broke its promises and compromised consumer privacy,” Levine said in a statement. “We will vigorously enforce the health breach notification rule to defend consumer health data from exploitation.”