Warning: *privacy not included with this product
Maya Period, Fertility, Ovulation, & Pregnancy
Nope. That's the first word that comes to mind after researching this period and fertility tracking app made by India-based Plackal Tech. There is not a privacy or security ding we didn't assign to this period and fertilizing tracking app that says it makes tracking periods fun and easy. Free to download, Maya has some premium features users have to pay that cost around $4 a year. Maya tracks all sorts of things like sexual activity, period frequency, weight, body temperature, period symptoms, mood, and more. Unfortunately, Maya has a spotty track record of protecting all this very personal data it collects on their users. 2019 research by Privacy International found they shared lots of this personal, health information with Facebook. Yuck. That's the second word that comes to mind now when we think of this app.
What could happen if something goes wrong?
Three, while they do say they won't share personal information about identifiable individuals to advertisers, they do say they do say they can share aggregate and/or anonymised information "to help advertisers reach the kind of audience they want to target" And they make use information the collect on you "to comply with our advertisers’ wishes by displaying their advertisement to that target audience." Maya goes on to say they can share users' information with sponsors, and/or business partners to send "newsletters, offers, information about new services, and other information." So, your information is potentially being shared with a fair amount of third parties and advertisers to reach you with more offers and even targeted ads. That's not so great.
All this is bad, but it's not the worst. The worst is yet to come!
Maya doesn't meet our Minimum Security Standards for a couple of reasons. First, they allow the super duper weak password of "1" to login to their app. Very bad form. And two, because we just couldn't tell if they do things like use strong encryption and have a way to manage security vulnerabilities.
Given all these knocks against Maya — they collect a metric ton of very personal information, they share that information with lots of places, they don't tell users how long they can retain that information, they only require a very weak password of "1" and don't meet our Minimum Security Standards, and they have a pretty bad track record of protecting their user's personal information, we'd say there is a whole lot that could go wrong if you use this app to track your periods and fertilizing. We have to say, Maya almost certainly comes with *Privacy Not Included.
Tips to protect yourself
- Add an App lock for your calendar if someone else might be using your phone/other device
- When you no longer use the app, go to "Delete account" in the app menu
- Chose a strong password! You may use a password control tool like 1Password, KeePass etc. The app will not prompt you to use a strong password.
- Do not give access to your location in the app! When asked to provide location in the sign-up, first click 'Enable' and then chose 'Do not give location' in the drop down. Yes, very misleading!
- Use your device privacy controls to limit access to your personal information via app (do not give access to your camera, microphone, images and videos)
- Keep your app regularly updated
- Limit ad tracking via your device (eg on iPhone go to Privacy -> Advertising -> Limit ad tracking) and biggest ad networks (for Google, go to Google account and turn off ad personalization)
What can be used to sign up?
What data does the company collect?
Name, e-mail address and other profile data, location (approximate or precise, depending on your usage).
Symptoms, moods, the length of your menstrual cycles, and general information about your health such your weight, mood, temperature and/or any physical intimacy.
How does the company use this data?
How can you control your data?
What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?
In 2019, UK-based advocacy group Privacy International discovered period-tracking apps including Maya sent women’s use of contraception, the timings of their monthly periods, symptoms like swelling and cramps, and more, directly to Facebook.
Before users could even agree to the apps’ privacy policies, Maya started sharing some data as soon they were opened, according to Privacy International.
Child Privacy Information
Can this product be used offline?
User-friendly privacy information?
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
Managed to sign up with "1" as a password
Period Tracker Apps Used By Millions Of Women Are Sharing Incredibly Sensitive Data With FacebookBuzzFeed News
We asked five menstruation apps for our data and here is what we found...Privacy International
No Body's Business But Mine: How Menstruation Apps Are Sharing Your DataPrivacy International
These apps may have told Facebook about the last time you had sexThe Washington Post
Using A Period Tracking App? This Is Where All Your Personal Info GoesRefinery 29
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