Online Privacy: Your Data, Your Say
Privacy is a big deal these days. From the recent passage of the European privacy law to the congressional hearing of Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony about Facebook privacy, personal data privacy is a hot topic.
And it is a big deal because companies are turning their customers into commodities. Many companies make your data their #1 product.
Cycle Technologies is different. We believe that your information belongs to you. Period. Our goal is to provide our customers with accurate information and great products. We don’t need to collect tons of data to do this.
The back story
Many websites, apps, and businesses offer free services in exchange for your personal information. However, often, they don’t obtain permission from you to use or sell your information. Instead they assume the right to use your information for their benefit.
Take for instance the recent Facebook debacle. Behind every social media interaction, Facebook tracks your personal preferences, likes, comments, and searches and then uses the information for ad-targeting. But they do this often without you knowing AND without obtaining explicit consent.
Take into consideration the findings of a recent study by several Ivy League Schools: “73 percent of Android apps studied shared users’ email addresses, and 47 percent of iOS apps shared location data.” That’s your personal information being beamed out of your control.
But it’s not just flagrant use of your information that’s a problem. Some apps have flaws that accidentally leak your personal information. By exploiting these flaws, hackers can easily access your information.
So, yes, lots of people are talking about personal data privacy these days, and for good reason. We want you to know that Cycle Technologies thinks about and handles your information differently.
How we think about your information
We view your private information as just that: YOUR information. It is not our place to distribute or receive profit from your private information. We are very careful in how we collect your data in the first place.
What we collect
All data collection is anonymous. That means we don’t know who you are. Any anonymous information we do use is used solely for improving the services we offer through Dot.
On purpose, Dot requires minimal information to predict pregnancies. Plus, any personal information you put into Dot - notes, pictures, passcodes - is stored on your phone. This means that as soon as you delete the app you also delete any personal information, keeping your information totally in your control.
What we don’t collect
Often fertility apps offer to improve your experience if you input personal information such as health history, weight, height, etc. But beware of such offers. This information isn’t necessary for more accurate family planning. Because of this, Cycle Technologies gives you accurate fertility information while requiring very minimal information about your cycle.
We absolutely do not collect any information that you put into Dot such as notes, diet, symptoms, or profile information. That information belongs to you and stays with you on your phone.
The one exception
The one exception to our rule of anonymous data collection is if you agree to participate in a research study. But these research studies are very upfront and obvious. Users opt in and know what they’re agreeing to, and any research study that our users agree to will review how we will handle your privacy in the study.
What you can do
In all of the privacy debate, there are things you can do to protect yourself even though the U.S. has not yet instituted laws protecting your privacy.
Though a little tedious, take time to read privacy policies before giving personal information. Even if you’ve already provided information to apps, go back and read their privacy policies. Then delete any apps that don’t handle your information responsibly.
And above all, do not provide unnecessary information to apps. Don’t be fooled into thinking that all apps need access to your photos or your location or whatever they may request. Many actually need much less information to operate effectively.
Barrett, Brian. "Mark Zuckerberg's Privacy Shell Game." Wired(blog), April 10, 2018. Accessed June 5, 2018. https://www.wired.com/story/mark-zuckerbergs-privacy-shell-game/.
Heyer, Leslie. "Who Really Owns Your Data in the Digital Era? (Hint: Probably Not You)." Entrepreneur(blog), May 15, 2018. Accessed June 5, 2018. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/313420.
Powles, Julia. "The G.D.P.R., Europe’s New Privacy Law, and the Future of the Global Data Economy." The New Yorker, May 25, 2018. Accessed June 5, 2018. https://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-gdpr-europes-new-privacy-law-and-the-future-of-the-global-data-economy.
Singer, Natasha. "What You Don’t Know About How Facebook Uses Your Data." New York Times, April 11, 2018. Accessed June 5, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/11/technology/facebook-privacy-hearings.html.
Cycle Technologies is a socially minded consumer product company based in Washington, D.C. The company creates Brilliantly Simple™ solutions to address global health needs with particular focus on reproductive health technologies. Since 2002 the company has worked with researchers, healthcare partners, and technologists to identify, develop, and make available leading edge ideas that fit its mission. To see more about the company’s initiatives, visit http://www.CycleTechnologies.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.