Apple Urged to Protect Reproductive Health Data

California’s Attorney General has joined a coalition of 10 attorneys general who are urging Apple to better protect consumers’ private reproductive health information. Following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, at least 14 states have restricted or criminalized abortion care. There are concerns that sensitive health data provided to third-party apps could be weaponized against those seeking or providing reproductive care. 

Letter to Apple

In the letter to Apple, the attorneys general express concerns about third-party apps that are hosted in the App Store. Specifically, their collection of users’ private information, such as:

  • Search histories
  • Location
  • Sensitive health data

Some are concerned this information could be misused and weaponized. It could be used to target individuals seeking or providing abortions or other reproductive healthcare. Apple are being called on to create additional measures to strengthen privacy in their App Store. 

In the letter, Apple are urged to require app developers whose apps are offered or sold in the App Store to certify or disclose in their privacy policies that they will take the following measures:

  • Delete data that is not essential for the use of the application, including:
    • Location history
    • Search history
    • And any other related data of consumers who may be seeking, accessing, or helping to provide reproductive healthcare
  • Provide clear notices about the potential for apps to disclose user data related to reproductive health to third parties
    • But require that apps only disclose this data when required to by a valid subpoena, search warrant, or court order
  • Require any App Store apps that collect consumers’ reproductive health data or sync with user health data stored on Apple devices to implement the same privacy and security standard as Apple with regard to that data. 

The coalition feels these proposed measures would safeguard reproductive health information from being wrongfully exploited by those who would use it to harm pregnant people or providers. They are also consistent with Apple’s professed promises of privacy protection on the App Store. 

The following states’ attorney general is also part of this coalition:

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