State AGs urge Apple to higher shield reproductive well being information

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Editor’s observe: This text has been up to date with a remark from Apple.

Ten state attorneys common are urging Apple so as to add new protections for reproductive well being information contained in third-party apps hosted on the App Retailer.

In a letter despatched to CEO Tim Cook dinner, attorneys common of California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Washington stated lax guidelines for safeguarding reproductive well being information might hurt sufferers or suppliers within the wake of the Supreme Courtroom determination that overturned Roe v. Wade. 

The group stated location historical past, search historical past and adjoining well being information — info associated to previous, current or future reproductive well being of the consumer — might pose a threat to folks on the lookout for or offering abortions, contraception or different reproductive care.

The attorneys common argue Apple ought to require app builders to delete location, search and well being information that is not required for the app to operate. Apps must also present clear notices that element how their information is getting used, retained and shared in addition to solely present that information to 3rd events with a subpoena, search warrant or court docket order.

The letter notes that Apple regularly touts high standards relating to information safety and privateness, and it ought to maintain third-party apps to its personal guidelines.

“At minimal, Apple ought to require apps on the App Retailer to satisfy sure threshold safety necessities, equivalent to encryption of biometric and different delicate well being information saved on functions, use of end-to-end encryption when transmitting stated information and compliance with Apple’s consumer opt-out controls,” the attorneys common wrote. “To make sure long-term compliance, Apple ought to conduct periodic audits and take away or refuse to listing third-party apps in violation of those requirements.”

When requested for remark, Apple famous well being and health information saved in its Well being app is encrypted when the cellphone is locked with a passcode, Contact ID or Face ID. Apple itself additionally will not have the ability to learn well being and exercise information when utilizing an up to date model of watchOS or iOS with the default two-factor authentication and a passcode.

Customers can share Health data with third-party apps, and Apple requires these apps to ask for permission, clarify why it is requesting entry and have a coverage that discusses how the information might be used. Customers may also management the Well being app info that may be shared, for instance permitting a third-party app to learn step depend however not blood glucose information.


After the Dobbs determination got here down over the summer time, some safety specialists raised concerns information collected in reproductive well being and interval monitoring apps may very well be used as proof in states the place abortion is now restricted. Others observe there is a variety of digital information that may very well be dangerous, like textual content messages or search historical past. 

The letter from state attorneys common famous a recent report from the Mozilla Basis that discovered a lot of interval monitoring, being pregnant, and well being and health apps have poor requirements for information privateness. Different analysis has discovered many ladies’s well being apps share information with third events or do not clearly show privateness insurance policies. 


“Defending reproductive privateness within the wake of the Dobbs determination is paramount. Regardless of selling privateness as one in all its ‘core values’ Apple merely has not achieved sufficient to make sure that personal reproductive well being information collected and saved by apps won’t be used to trace, harass or criminalize these looking for to train their reproductive freedoms,” New Jersey Lawyer Normal Matthew J. Platkin stated in a press release. 

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