Flo Health App Sued Over Alleged Ad Data Usage

On Monday, Madeline Kiss filed a putative class-action lawsuit against Flo Health, Inc., and additional advertiser defendants including Google, LLC, Facebook, Inc., Appsflyer, Inc., and Flurry, Inc. over allegations that the companies conspired to exchange extremely private and confidential information for their own benefit.

Flo Health, according to the complaint, owns one of the most successful health and fitness apps in the world, an app called the Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker. The app has a variety of functions, it is an ovulation tracker, a pregnancy guide, and a wellness and lifestyle tracker. For full use of the app, users must input personal identifying information and other intimate details, the plaintiffs said. These details include things of a personal nature such as “sexual health, menstruation cycles, gynecological health, and physical well-being.” The information given by users helps the app to better predict ovulation and aid pregnancy schedules.

Due to the intimate and personal nature of the app, the petition explained, Flo Health asserts their strict privacy policy and security for the sake of the users’ information. The policy states that Flo Health “will not transmit any of your personal data to third parties, except if it is required to provide the service to you (e.g. technical service providers), unless we have asked for your explicit consent.” The plaintiff argued that if companies like the advertiser defendants were to access the data, they would be able to “capitalize on an especially sensitive class of information, targeting women with ads in ways that are acutely invasive.”

The plaintiff alleged that Flo Health violated their own policy by knowingly giving users’ information to third parties including the advertiser defendants. According to the complaint, the defendants transmitted the information via software development kits, or SDKs. The SDKs were incorporated into the Flo Health app, allowing Flo Health to use the analytical tools of an advertiser company to identify “which of its users would be a prime target for advertisements.” In return for being able to use the advertiser defendant’s SDKs, Flo Health provided the advertisers with intimate health details that allowed the companies to “compile profiles and target users for advertisements.”

The intimate health information detailed in the Flo Health App is “some of the most private information about a user and was provided under the guise that this information would stay private.” The plaintiff alleged that Flo Health’s actions are a purposeful abuse of privacy on behalf of both herself and other class members. She further contended that if users of the app had been aware that their information was being spread to the advertiser defendants, they would not have chosen to use the app.

Kiss brought this action on behalf of “all natural persons in the United States who have used the Flo App since June 2016.” Within the complaint, 16 different claims for relief are detailed for a variety of violations and breaches of contract on the part of both Flo Health and the advertiser defendants. The plaintiff is seeking class certification, declaratory relief, injunctive and other equitable relief, as well as a variety of damages. She is also demanding a trial by jury.The plaintiff is represented by Wagstaffe, Von Loewenfeldt, Busch & Radwick.