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Illustration: Flo

A fertility app with more than 100 million customers on Wednesday settled a Federal Trade Commission investigation into allegations that it shared health information with Google, Facebook and other companies without users' consent.

Details: The FTC said Flo promised users of its Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker app that their health information would be kept private, but instead shared data, including whether a user was pregnant, with companies that provided marketing and analytics services.

What's next: Flo will get users' consent before sharing their health information and obtain an independent review of its privacy practices as part of the terms of the settlement.

  • The FTC also is requiring Flo to notify users that it shared period and pregnancy information with the analytics divisions of Facebook, Google and others.

What they're saying: In a statement, Flo said the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing, and will allow the company to avoid the "time and expense of litigation."

  • "Flo did not at any time share users’ names, addresses, or birthdays with anyone," the company said. "We do not currently, and will not, share any information about our users’ health with any company unless we get their permission."

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2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.

Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

Facebook refers Trump ban to independent Oversight Board for review

Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's independent Oversight Board has accepted a referral from the platform to review its decision to indefinitely suspend former President Trump.

Why it matters: While Trump critics largely praised the company's decision to remove the then-president's account for potential incitement of violence, many world leaders and free speech advocates pushed back on the decision, arguing it sets a dangerous precedent for free speech moving forward.