Iran Full Membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
26 September 2021
Entry into Force of UNCITRAL Expedited Arbitration Rules 2021
21 November 2021

Flo Health Improper Data Usage

In January 2021, Flo Health, one of the most widely-used period and fertility tracking applications, was accused of improperly sharing users’ information with third party applications such as Facebook, Google and etc. despite its claimed privacy policy which ensures complete privacy of the users’ data. Flo Health has allegedly violated the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks to which it has been a participant since August 2018.

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), the United States government agency whose principal mission is to enforce civil antitrust law and protect consumer rights, began investigating Flo Health’s data collection and disclosure practices after The Wall Street Journal report in February 2019 that showed leakage of health information from Flo to Facebook. Subsequently, FTC acknowledged that Flo Health has violated provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act. In its complaint, FTC, stated that the application has misled its users by sharing their intimate health details with outside companies. Unbeknown to most people, not only has Flo infringed their confidentiality, but also it did not warn recipient applications against infringing confidentiality of such information, leaving them the leeway to use such data for whichever purposes they desire.

Nevertheless, Flo have not admitted to any of its wrongdoings and claimed that sharing users’ information has been subject to their permission. Subsequently, Flo Health reached a settlement with FTC that it will review its policies and ensure that the privacy of users’ personal health data is absolutely paramount. As part of the settlement, Flo Health must notify affected users about the disclosure of their information and instruct recipient companies to destroy such data. Flo is also prohibited from misrepresenting its policies regarding use of date. However, a spokesperson of Flo said that the settlement is to avoid time and expenses pertaining to litigation and it does not, by itself, constitute an admission of any wrongdoing. However, and despite the FCT settlement, Flo users seem to be entitled to additional relief and assurance that the company will stop its unlawful data sharing practices.

In early June, Flo Health, Facebook, Google and other companies were subject to a class-action lawsuit in California Northern District Court which is brought against them on behalf of users of the Flo health app. The consolidated class action lawsuit details a variety of violations made by Flo. The plaintiff is seeking injunctive and other equitable reliefs, as well as compensation damages on a variety of grounds. A trial by jury is also demanded and the plaintiff has asked the court to award the plaintiff and class members an equitable relief.

In January 2021, Flo Health, one of the most widely-used period and fertility tracking applications, was accused of improperly sharing users’ information with third party applications such as Facebook, Google and etc. despite its claimed privacy policy which ensures complete privacy of the users’ data. Flo Health has allegedly violated the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks to which it has been a participant since August 2018.