AP

Bill would force period tracking apps to follow privacy laws

Jan 17, 2023, 6:23 AM | Updated: 7:06 am
"Periods remain both mysterious, sacred, interesting and filled with all sorts of feelings for people...," Julie Metzger. (Clue)
(Clue)

When the Supreme Court last June stripped away constitutional protections for abortion, concerns grew over the use of period tracking apps because they aren’t protected by federal privacy laws.

Privacy experts have said they fear pregnancies could be surveilled and the data shared with police or sold to vigilantes.

Some Washington state lawmakers want to change that and have introduced a bill related to how consumer data is shared, KUOW reported.

Democratic Rep. Vandana Slatter represents Washington’s 48th legislative district, which covers much of Redmond, Bellevue, and Kirkland. She is sponsoring House Bill 1155, which focuses on the collection, sharing, and selling of consumer health data.

“Someone can actually track you, and target you, in some way that can be really harmful,” Slatter said.

HIPAA, the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, protects medical files at your doctor’s office but not the information that third-party apps and tech companies collect about you. Nor does HIPAA cover health histories collected by non-medical “crisis pregnancy centers, ” which are run by anti-abortion groups. That means the information can be shared with, or sold to, almost anyone.

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn abortion rights piqued Slatter’s interest in health data privacy, she said. Her proposed measure would make it illegal to sell any type of health data.

Rep. Jim Walsh of Aberdeen said he supports protecting a person’s privacy, but said the bill focuses too much on what he called hot button issues.

“Why do we need to use incendiary language, like about abortion?” Walsh said.

The bill is set to be presented to the state House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee. Its companion bill in the state Senate, SB 5351, is sponsored by Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond.

AP

Associated Press

Trucks crash into commuters in Nigeria’s south; 20 dead

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Two separate road crashes involving trucks in southern Nigeria left 20 people dead including children, authorities said Sunday, with many of the victims burned beyond recognition. In Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos, a truck carrying a heavy container landed on a commercial bus on a busy bridge in the Ojuelegba area […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Kansas City police find body in man’s car after towing it

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Family members and a forensic expert are questioning why Kansas City police didn’t find a man’s body in the cargo area of his own SUV until after they towed it to a Missouri police station earlier this month. Adam “A.J.” Blackstock Jr.’s death is being investigated as a homicide, according […]
2 days ago
FILE - Annie Wersching arrives at the FOX Winter All-Star Party in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 11, 20...
Associated Press

’24,’ ‘Runaways’ actor Annie Wersching has died at 45

Actor Annie Wersching, best known for playing FBI agent Renee Walker in the series “24” and providing the voice for Tess in the video game “The Last of Us,” has died. She was 45. Wersching passed away Sunday morning in Los Angeles following a battle with cancer, her publicist told The Associated Press. The type […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Baby girl found abandoned in Florida an hour after birth

MULBERRY, Fla. (AP) — Florida authorities found a newborn girl wrapped in a blanket and still attached to a placenta on a hill outside a trailer park early Saturday morning. Polk County deputies responding to a call about a baby crying outside near Mulberry, east of Tampa, found the girl about an hour after she […]
2 days ago
A group of demonstrators protest outside a police precinct in response to the death of Tyre Nichols...
Associated Press

Pastor prays for peace after brutal beating of Tyre Nichols

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The pastor at the Memphis church where Tyre Nichols ‘ family spoke from the pulpit urging peace after his brutal killing reiterated the call for calm Sunday following the release of video showing the fatal beating by police. Cities nationwide have braced for protests after body camera footage was released Friday […]
2 days ago
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, center, is welcomed by U.S. amb...
Associated Press

US urges donors to give far more as Somalia faces famine

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — The first U.S. Cabinet member to visit Somalia since 2015 urged the world’s distracted donors Sunday to give immediate help to a country facing deadly famine, which she calls “the ultimate failure of the international community.” The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, heard perhaps the starkest warning yet […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Bill would force period tracking apps to follow privacy laws