ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — According to New York’s Attorney General Letitia James, some sites and apps that track fertility and menstrual cycles also collect and share their users’ personal information with third parties. Platforms can log reproductive history and physical location, which James warns can be used against you if you search for information about abortions or providers.
“People use fertility tracking apps and location services every day, but if they’re not careful, their personal information can end up in the wrong hands,” James said in a press release. “With abortion rights in jeopardy, it’s more important than ever that everyone take their digital privacy seriously. I urge everyone, especially those visiting abortion clinics or seeking abortion care, to follow the tips offered by my office and be more careful of the apps and websites they use.”
The internet extends beyond the boundaries of New York, and James said awareness that your digital presence is not anonymous can help protect your digital privacy. To limit unwanted sharing of your personal information that is tracked online—especially for those seeking abortion care and information about reproductive rights—James’ office released several cybersecurity tips.
- Turn off location services and ad personalization on your device before going to a sensitive location like an abortion clinic
- If you need to leave location services on, you can try resetting your device’s advertising id before and after visiting sensitive locations
- Use a virtual private network (VPN), private web browser, and/or private search engine to prevent sensitive searches from being saved to your history
- Use secure, end-to-end encrypted messaging when talking about abortion care
- Reconsider social media posts, make your social media account private, and adjust privacy settings across the board
If you think you are or have been tracked when trying to obtain abortion care, contact James’s office at (800) 771-7755. They’ll help you complete and submit an online complaint with the Bureau of Internet and Technology.