Review date: Aug. 9, 2022
Update: In June 2022, after Roe vs Wade was overturned allowing US states to make access to abortion illegal, we took another look at Oura's privacy and security as a device that can track menstrual cycle and reproductive health data. Our updated review is below. Overall, Oura does a pretty good job of protecting their users privacy and security and clearly states how they will handle potential law enforcement requests for any reproductive health tracking data.
What could happen if something goes wrong?
From what we can tell, the Finnish company that makes the Ōura does a pretty good job with the privacy of all the personal data this little ring collects. Ōura says they don’t sell or rent your personal information or share the Ōura app data with third party advertisers. This is great.
This device does track your biometric data closely. So closely, in fact, that there have been academic studies done that show data from the Ōura ring can help predict the start of covid-related symptoms and even pregnancy. It’s a good thing Ōura seems to protect that data carefully. It’d be very weird for a company to know you’re pregnant before you do.
Update, August 2022 following the overturn of Roe vs Wade protection reproductive health rights in the United States.
We went back and took a look at Oura's privacy and security policies and how they apply to tracking reproductive health information. Here's what we found.
Oura does say they have period tracking features, such as the ability to track body temperature, respiratory rate, and sleep to help predict your period. Oura is based in Finland and governed by Europe's stricter GDPR health laws, which is good. They outlined their commitment to reproductive health and privacy in a blog post on their site following the Roe vs Wade decision.
All in all, Oura seems to remain a company with strong privacy and security practices, governed by stricter GDPR privacy laws, with a stated commitment to share a little data with law enforcement as they are able to. This makes us feel pretty good about how Oura approaches reproductive health tracking. A reminder though, nothing is 100% safe online, so password protect those devices with period or pregnancy tracking apps and because of what you chose to share at all times.
Tips to protect yourself
- Check out Oura Ring's Safety recommendations
- Consider turning on a “Ring airplane mode” feature which allows to proactively disable all radio transmission from the ring, which causes the ring to lose connection to the app, at the moments you do not want your data be collected.
- 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 (e.g. 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?
Email, gender, date of birth
Sleep, heart rate, activities, respiration, and temperature data related to the body (via Oura ring sensors)
Partners that you share your data with, for example, your doctor, fitness trainer, etc.
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?
No known incidents in the last 3 years.
Child Privacy Information
Can this product be used offline?
Many of the Oura ring’s features work without an internet connection, although certain functionalities cannot function without an internet connection to Oura’s cloud servers.
User-friendly privacy information?
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
Oura encrypts data in transit. We are unable to confirm if they encrypt data at rest where it is stored.
Oura actively solicits input from the public about security vulnerabilities, including from privacy and security researchers. Security vulnerabilities can be reported here: https://support.ouraring.com/hc/articles/4412271180307-Report-a-Security-Vulnerability.
You can connect different third-party AI apps. Descriptions of most machine learning-supported features are given in our blog at https://ouraring.com/blog/, together with links to publications where they exist.
Is this AI untrustworthy?
What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?
Is the company transparent about how the AI works?
Does the user have control over the AI features?
Got a comment? Let us hear it.