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Study: 15% of family planning apps at Apple App Store, Google Playhave have no ‘detected privacy policy’

Pixalate, a fraud protection, privacy, and compliance analytics platform for Connected TV (CTV) and Mobile Advertising, has released its “Q12022 Privacy on Family Planning Apps Report,” an analysis of the state of privacy within family planning mobile apps through quarter one (Q1) of 2022.

In the context of this report, “Family Planning” apps are any app available in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store with the words “period” or “pregnancy” in the title (English language only). Pixalate examined where these apps are registered, what permissions they request access to (such as location), and what personal information is shared with advertisers and/or data brokers from within the apps. Key findings from the report:

There are over 1.7k family planning apps to choose from

  • Pixalate identified 1,133 family planning apps in the Google Play Store and 615 in the Apple App Store.
  • There are over 230 million monthly active users across these apps, according to Pixalate’s estimates.

Over 15% of family planning apps have no detected privacy policy

  • 16% of family planning apps in the Google Play Store have no detected privacy policy.
  • This number was 19% among family planning apps in the Apple App Store.
  • 9% (Google) and 13% (Apple) of the apps are privately registered.

The apps request access to personal information

  • 33% (Google) and 44% (Apple) of the family planning apps have potential access to personal information through requested device permissions.
  • 31% of family planning apps from the Apple store request access to the device’s camera, compared to 14% on Google.
  • 14% of family planning apps on Apple request access to the device’s calendar, compared to 3% on Google.

The apps are sharing personal information with advertisers and/or data brokers

  • About 10% of family planning apps transmit user location information to advertisers and/or data brokers, according to Pixalate.
  • 13% of family planning apps on Apple request access to the user’s location even when the app isn’t open.
Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.