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These Coders Tried to Build a Better Period App

In January, Bloomberg Businessweek published a story about the ways period-tracking apps monetize their users’ extremely personal data.

In the wake of these privacy concerns, a group of Berlin-based feminist coders announced they were doing something different. In this week’s episode of Prognosis, you’ll meet the Bloody Health collective, a group of women who wanted a way to track their periods without worrying where the data was going. With the help of a couple grants from the German government and the Mozilla Foundation, and a group of likeminded coders, they’ve created the first female-designed, open-source period app.

More than 100 million women around the world use free commercial apps to track their menstrual cycles. And as is the case with many free apps, the real return for companies is turning women's data into a business. Targeted advertising, third-party data sharing and tracking make most menstruation apps just as problematic as they are popular, privacy activists argue.

That is especially true in the case of period apps which tend to include data on sexual activity, basal body temperature, and past ovulation history. And in many instances, women are handing over this data in return for a service that is far from reliable at, for instance, predicting when they’re most likely to get pregnant.

Find out how the Bloody Health collective is trying to create something better for women by listening here.