Police in the United Kingdom are using data from period tracking apps and mass spectrometry tests conducted on blood, placenta, and urine to investigate patients who have had “unexplained” miscarriages.

Though abortion is legal in the UK, there are TRAP laws in place requiring certain conditions to be met first, paramount of which is that two separate doctors need to agree that the patient meets the criteria of the 1967 Abortion Act before any treatment can go ahead. Self-managed abortion is a criminal offense with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment in the UK, as is any abortion performed after the pregnancy has progressed passed 23 weeks and six days, unless the patient is at risk of serious physical harm or death, or the fetus has severe developmental anomalies.

    • Norgur
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      428 months ago

      A Data protective App funded by the German government. Take that, Brits!

      • Echo Dot
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        8 months ago

        As if we needed more to be depressed about, what a mess our country now is. I can see why people immigrate.

    • @A1kmm@lemmy.amxl.com
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      148 months ago

      Not a bad idea in terms of keeping sensitive information out of the hands of companies and dragnet surveillance, but probably ineffective if your threat model is local police seizing your phone (like in the article) because you had a miscarriage, and using period tracker data against you somehow.

    • @Arrakis@lemmy.world
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      8 months ago

      Shame it was written for an old ass version of Android or I’d happily switch.

      E: Idk why this is getting downvoted. I can’t install it from the Play Store because the app hasn’t been updated. Why is that controversial? 😅

      • @littlewonder@lemmy.world
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        Maybe their GitLab has the latest version? Sometimes open source apps will release first on their own repo before it gets pushed to external app repos.

  • Bri Guy
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    828 months ago

    this sounds so fucking dystopian…

  • @HowMany@lemmy.ml
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    638 months ago

    Amazing how many governments are interested in making sure babies happen - to the point of sounding alarms.

    What do they know that they’re not telling? Is the pollution so bad that we’ve wiped ourselves out biologically?

        • @LavaPlanet@lemmy.world
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          48 months ago

          They talk about this as if it’s mysterious. Not actually the fact that the working world is still based on one parent works and the other stays at home (offering their life in sacrifice to the system and providing the next generation for free, but I digress) but both parents HAVE to work to survive because the cost of living is through the roof. Child care costs too much, almost entirely wiping out one parents wage. And they could choose to offer incentives or address the reasons for the low birth rate, they know the reasons. But no, fear, criminalisation, those work better, as tools, to keep the chattel in line.

      • @HowMany@lemmy.ml
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        17 months ago

        They allowed a human grade extinction event and now they’re got second thoughts? How… big brained monkey that sounds.

    • @Aux@lemmy.world
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      Self abortion can kill you. British law is made to protect you from yourself. Go to the doctor and everything will be fine. And free. And without you bleeding to death in your flat.

      • @urist@lemmy.blahaj.zone
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        Self-managed abortion is a criminal offense with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment in the UK

        So… the punishment for doing something dangerous is life in prison? Someone who is administering an abortion themselves is desperate and probably not aware of services available to them. They’re the most vulnerable in society; someone your government should be helping and protecting.

        Further, this opens every single women who has had a miscarriage up to scrutiny. I don’t know if anyone has been jailed for miscarrying in the UK, but it happens in the US through similar laws, and it is tragic and barbaric.

        From the article:

        Although some involved women who were arrested for things such as falling down, or giving birth at home, the vast majority involved drugs, and women of colour were overrepresented.

        Here’s a particularly egregious example (This woman attempted to commit suicide by rat poison and survived, her baby did not).

        While I agree you probably shouldn’t use drugs while pregnant, obviously this won’t stop someone with an addiction. It just causes further harm to marginalized people to criminalize this stuff. These laws are used to hurt the poor and the addicted, and social services are better spent preventing these sort of things instead of punitive action.

        • @barsoap@lemm.ee
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          Life is nuts, over here in Germany the maximum for the woman is one year or fine. I don’t think there’s actually been a case like that and if there was judges would find every mitigating circumstance they possibly could. I mean German courts regularly acquit women who kill their child within the first days of its life by ruling temporary insanity, they’re not known to not be understanding when people face exceptional circumstances they had no way to prepare themselves for.

          It’s gotta be on the books though as the availability of punishment-free at-will abortions hinges on the managed procedure in the first place, the state’s constitutional duty to protect life requires it to minimise the number of abortions and welfare and said procedure (counselling where you’ll be told about all those welfare programs, three days cooldown) as well as absolutely zero demand for or providers of back-alley abortions is the way it’s done (providers, btw, face up to three years, six months to five years if against the will of the woman or putting her in danger)

          It’s kinda "but I would have gotten the building permit anyway, I’m legally entitled to get one!’ – “but you still got to apply for it” territory. Life, as said, is a nuts punishment for that kind of thing.

          On the flipside authorities still might want to investigate miscarriages simply to make sure that noone else slipped the woman something.

          • @urist@lemmy.blahaj.zone
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            68 months ago

            state’s constitutional duty to protect life requires it to minimise the number of abortions

            The state would find it’s money better spent through education and access to contraception, and opportunities for women.

            I will also point out that fetuses are not people, so you are not protecting life by minimizing abortions by restricting abortions directly. If you are unsure of whether you feel if a fetus is a person or not, consider a hypothetical example: Consider a woman who has been told that they would be unable to carry a child to term. She conceives anyway, hoping the doctor is wrong. She endures multiple miscarriages against the advice of her doctor. Is she also a murderer?

            three days cooldown

            These laws are written by people who cannot even imagine the lives that these women live. A cooldown period means multiple trips to the doctor. It means taking at least 2 days off work. It means finding child care and transportation for not just one day, but two. It also means obtaining the procedure is harder to hide, if she’s in a situation where she needs to do that. It’s incredibly burdensome and paternalistic.

            It’s kinda "but I would have gotten the building permit anyway, I’m legally entitled to get one!’

            I am not going to make any judgement of your character or insult you in any way. However, I do need to say this: comparing a woman’s control over her own body to needing to obtain a building permit is DEEPLY REPULSIVE.

            Does Germany also criminalize self harm (cutting)? Overeating? Recklessly engaging in sports without protective equipment? Should we not also give out fines and force people in front of judges for these activities?

            No threat of law will stop back-alley abortions. These women are already knowingly risking their lives when they do this outside of the medical system. They would risk death. That is what it means to them.

            • @barsoap@lemm.ee
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              The state would find it’s money better spent through education and access to contraception, and opportunities for women.

              All those, and more, are being done.

              I will also point out that fetuses are not people

              The right to life starts at nidation as that’s when nature choses to attempt to bring a particular life to fruit, go argue with the constitutional court (you can safely skip everything from after the guiding principles to section C, that’s the main reasoning the rest is context). Human dignity extends even further, protecting e.g. against bullshit pre-implementation diagnostics.

              “X is not a person” is a rather weak argument in general. As that’s the US reasoning I’ll point you towards various adult people that the US has, in the past, not considered persons. That kind of reasoning is absolutely incompatible with the German constitution and the time frames Roe vs. Wade use to decide whether someone is a person or not are absolutely arbitrary: A foetus develops as, not to, a human.

              Is she also a murderer?

              Completely bullshit argument. Consider that she’s lost in a desert with her kid without water, she carries it back to safety but it doesn’t survive the trip. Is she a murderer?

              A cooldown period means multiple trips to the doctor. It means taking at least 2 days off work.

              You can’t get counselling at the same place you get the abortion, conflict of interest. Also why would you take days off, counselling doesn’t take longer than shopping (make an appointment!), don’t you have weekends also why would taking a day off be an issue.

              Does Germany also criminalize self harm (cutting)? Overeating? Recklessly engaging in sports without protective equipment? Should we not also give out fines and force people in front of judges for these activities?

              None of those involve another person.

              No threat of law will stop back-alley abortions.

              Indeed, threat of punishment can’t do that. That’s why there’s a flurry of social programmes and decriminalised abortions available. Believe it or not but back-alley abortions aren’t a thing there, and neither is forbidding women to use highways to get to an appointment.


              Generally speaking the whole thing is 99.99% uncontroversial in Germany. There’s occasionally talk about details, e.g. Bavaria not getting its shit together when it comes to making sure that enough gynecologists provide abortions, but nothing that rocks the core foundations of the whole thing.

              • @urist@lemmy.blahaj.zone
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                18 months ago

                The right to life starts at nidation as that’s when nature choses to attempt to bring a particular life to fruit

                Then in my example you would consider that women to be a murderer.

                Laws protecting fetuses should involve protecting women against domestic violence, and the suffering caused by losing a pregnancy through violence/another person’s negligence. Also, I’m not terribly concerned with what international courts and governments think about fetuses being people, I think they’re wrong.

                “X is not a person” is a rather weak argument in general. As that’s the US reasoning I’ll point you towards various adult people that the US has, in the past, not considered persons.

                A person can sustain it’s own life without needing the body of another person (so I do not support late term abortions if the baby is able to live outside the womb, naturally). The US’s terrible history with respecting human rights (slavery, indiginous peoples, immigrants) don’t have much to do with fetuses, because fetuses depend directly on another, specific human body to survive.

                If you don’t consider this to be a good argument, that’s fine. I know this is something people feel strongly about, and I’m not convinced anyone can be persuaded in an internet comment.

                Consider that she’s lost in a desert with her kid without water, she carries it back to safety but it doesn’t survive the trip. Is she a murderer?

                If she knowingly went into the desert without supplies and dragged her child there, or put herself in a situation where she was unprepared in a desert, yes she is a murderer. Not complicated.

                If she did not have the mental faculties to know that deserts are dangerous, she is not a murderer. Such a woman would probably require a guardian to care for her (perhaps she is mentally disabled) and that person is now guilty of neglect/manslaughter.

                If they were both kidnapped and dropped off in the desert, then there is still a murderer: The person who kidnapped them.

                I suppose there is also the fourth option: She was forced to flee across the desert due to circumstances in her home country. This is a tragedy. This happens at the border between Mexico/USA. The US government is at fault for forcing refugees across an unsafe crossing. My government has built border walls in cities in the USA, so refugees die in the desert. This is by design, they did this knowingly. People used to illegally cross the boarder in civilized areas. Nobody knows how many people die in the desert, nor do they care. They care more controlling the bodies of their citizens than they do for our neighbors in the south. My government is cruel and oppressive, Germany is a much nicer place I’m pretty sure.

                You can’t get counselling at the same place you get the abortion, conflict of interest.

                Even worse. More planning to be done. I mean, I guess counseling would stop people from getting abortions on a whim, because they’re having a bad day. Oh wait, actually people don’t do that because they’re painful and mentally straining already, not to mention the societal judgement etc. (By the way, I have had a miscarriage when I was young. It was painful, I literally thought I was dying, and while I have not had an abortion, I am guessing the pain is about the same. Nobody is having abortions because it’s an easy choice.).

                Also why would you take days off

                My job would require this. Laws in Germany are likely different, with more worker protections. In America, low-wage workers generally don’t get paid time off or sick leave, so cooldown laws here are tough on people without resources. It’s probably less of a problem in Germany, where your government cares for your working class (I assume). However, a waiting period is still a barrier to reaching services.

                None of those involve another person.

                But involving the justice system in another person’s (bad) choices always produces good results, no? That’s why you were arguing self-administered abortions should be criminalized in Germany, so the justice system can help them. It’s true these examples I gave don’t involve harming another person, but again, I don’t consider a fetus to be a person.

                Generally speaking the whole thing is 99.99% uncontroversial in Germany.

                I find it incredibly difficult to believe that the criminalization of the acts of desperate women to be uncontroversial… I’m betting if you polled people, or spoke to people outside of your social circle, you’d find that these ideas aren’t so unanimously accepted.

                • @barsoap@lemm.ee
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                  18 months ago

                  Laws protecting fetuses should involve protecting women against domestic violence, and the suffering caused by losing a pregnancy through violence/another person’s negligence

                  That’s already the case what are you on about.

                  Also, I’m not terribly concerned with what international courts and governments think about fetuses being people, I think they’re wrong.

                  I’m not terribly concerned what you think about fetuses being people: Not only are you wrong your arguments also are just as poor as the Roe vs. Wade reasoning.

                  A person can sustain it’s own life without needing the body of another person

                  Which would mean that personhood starts at the age of what, six or so? Certainly not before birth. Which means you’re arguing for severely late-term abortions.

                  See I don’t infantilise women like that, I don’t think that women take the better part of nine months to make up their mind.

                  If she knowingly went into the desert […]

                  No. She got lost. Don’t change my fucking argument. Getting lost in the desert and having a miscarriage both fall under “shit happens”: No blame. Moreover, saying “women with certain medical conditions are not allowed to get pregnant, they must be sterilised” is fucking inhumane. Nature doesn’t always follow our aesthetic preferences and the woman’s desire to have a kid is just as valid as everyone else’s, and murder isn’t about aesthetics but intent. A woman getting pregnant is not intent to kill that doesn’t even start to make sense.

                  The medical system, of course, would try to coax her into pre-implantation diagnostics, adoption, and whatnot. Which is where that particular problem belongs: In the medical and social, not legal, realm.

                  I mean, I guess counseling would stop people from getting abortions on a whim, because they’re having a bad day.

                  Counselling is meant to inform about all the medical stuff (if necessary), and show up possible paths forwards. If “having a bad day” means “got fired from job, partner got fired, too, and also the washing machine broke and flooded the apartment” then yes that’s very much a thing that counselling is meant to address: Physical and financial security won’t be an issue for the kid. The state got your back.

                  In America, low-wage workers generally don’t get paid time off or sick leave

                  …that’s an America problem. We don’t have American conditions in Germany so don’t try to make them an argument.

                  But involving the justice system in another person’s (bad) choices always produces good results, no? That’s why you were arguing self-administered abortions should be criminalized in Germany, so the justice system can help them.

                  Helping pregnant women is not task of the justice system, that’s responsibility of the health and social services. No court is getting involved.

                  In fact side note: The constitutional court considered resolving the rights conflict between growing and existing life on a case-by-case basis before court, they very quickly and emphatically dismissed that notion as being a privacy nightmare and thus the final call – whether the rights conflict can be resolved in favour of the woman – is up to the woman. Counselling makes sure that she’s got all the relevant information to make that call, and the three days cooldown provide time to make it as well as bring heart and mind into alignment.

                  And before you think otherwise: It is illegal to pressure women during counselling.

                  I find it incredibly difficult to believe that the criminalization of the acts of desperate women to be uncontroversial

                  If you’re starving and walk into a bakery and steal bread you’ll also get sentenced – to a slap on the wrist, and the court is going to make sure that you’ll get the help necessary for that to not occur again, help that was available to you and you should have accepted before you got into that situation. Likewise, states are required to make abortions accessible so women not having ready access to them doesn’t occur. (Hence also my railing about Bavaria, our local backwater. Though the situation there is probably still better than in random blue US states).

                  On the flipside, if a woman goes ahead and says “I don’t like the way Germany regulates abortions, I’m going to spend two weeks educating myself about abortions and another two to get the supplies, then do it myself just to show them who’s boss” – that is what the upper end of the punishment range is for. In that time span you could’ve gotten that abortion using regular channels, easily.


                  Oh and just for completeness’ sake: All this is about at-will abortions, abortions for medical or criminal reasons are covered by self-defence,

        • @Aux@lemmy.world
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          18 months ago

          There’s no point looking at the US for examples. UK is a different country and works differently. You are reminding me of some pro guns Americans, who say that since guns are banned in the UK (they are not, they are controlled) we have stabbings all day long, while in reality there are more stabbings per capita in the US. Or another common example of Americans thinking that self defence is illegal here and if you kill a burglar you’ll go to jail. While in reality there will be a proper hearing in the court and you’ll walk free because you were using reasonable force to protect yourself and your family.

          A lot of systems are crumbling in the UK due to Tory mismanagement, but the courts are still working as intended and do protect people, sometimes even from themselves.

    • @Arrakis@lemmy.world
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      Women’s reproductive rights are a complex issue. On the one hand there’s killing babies; on the other there’s giving women a choice.

      Tough call.

      E: some of the PMs I’m getting for repeating this are absolute gold.

      E2: we’re all going to hell

  • Metal Zealot
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    Soon, tampons will have wifi so they can send your data to the govt, and then they’ll know you’re pregnant before you even do.

    • @Justfollowingorders1@lemmy.ml
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      28 months ago

      Sadly, I’m genuinely shocked at how many people have said things like “I got nothing to hide” when it comes to even basic intrusion of privacy by governments. It’s that kind of thinking that makes authorities think such actions like this should be tolerated.

  • @Nonameuser678@aussie.zone
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    558 months ago

    Wait so I thought this was a thing in the US because of all the Christofascists. Does the UK also have a christofascist thing going on? Or is this just kind of an everything goes culture war bullshit thing?

    • @Zanz@lemmy.world
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      418 months ago

      The UK is a Christian theocracy. Their legal head of state is the head of the state religion.

      • @evidences@lemmy.world
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        278 months ago

        Also I’ve I’m not mistaken UK lore dictates that the king/queen derives their power directly from God or something.

        • @littlewonder@lemmy.world
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          118 months ago

          Lol I love the idea that the monarchy is just a group of LARPers that have made up lore about themselves as a backstory.

          • @rambaroo@lemmy.world
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            That’s exactly what they are. Royalty made up the idea of divine right and then let the church in on the deal to provide legitimacy to it.

      • CashewNut 🏴󠁢󠁥󠁧󠁿
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        The UK is more irreligious than the US.

        It’s true we have unelected bishops of the CoE in the Lords but they have no power and regularly get kicked in the balls for stupid suggestions.

        Such as a former archbishop suggesting Sharia Law should be allowed in certain circumstances. They got roundly mocked and battered by their colleagues and the media.

        They’re more of a tiny, symbolic tradition that doesn’t do much because they’re aware of their growing irrelevance in a country with so few practicing Christians.

      • Flying Squid
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        38 months ago

        If you think Charles came up with any of this, you give him far more credit than His Royal Imbecility deserves.

        • @Zanz@lemmy.world
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          I don’t think he came up with that but the Church of England has seats in the houses due to the head of state being the leader of the church.

    • CashewNut 🏴󠁢󠁥󠁧󠁿
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      Your Christo-fascists are pushing their agenda in the UK from here.

      This network has been linked to major US funders of climate change denial and right-wing political causes including the Koch brothers and Robert Mercer, and to populist far-right parties in Europe, such as the Sweden Democrats and the Brothers of Italy

  • @Etterra@lemmy.world
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    528 months ago

    Wow, that’s not maliciously intrusive at all. Big Brother is hard at work over in jolly old fuck that noise.

  • @CanadaPlus@lemmy.sdf.org
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    448 months ago

    Wow, you never hear the UK mentioned as a place with abortion restrictions, but they have life in prison as a hypothetically administerable sentence for it, if done the wrong way.

    • @ForgotAboutDre@lemmy.world
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      98 months ago

      Technically abortion is illegal. There has to be a medical reason for the abortion. In practice a Doctor would consider not wanting to be pregnant would make an abortion necessary. Practice and society expectations differ from the actual law.

      This would suggest no prosector would bring charges against anyone, as it wouldn’t be in the public interest. So the police shouldn’t wast resources on it.

      There has also been a rise in abortions lately. It appears to be down to misinformation online about contraception.

        • @ForgotAboutDre@lemmy.world
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          Yes, but it costs political capital for very little gain. People won’t see it as a pro-abortion move. But anti-abortion people will see it as a pro-abortion move.

          The UK doesn’t have the same public debate about abortion as we see in the USA. However, there is a quiet contingent of anti-abortion politicians.

          The conservatives won’t move against them. The Tory strategy has been to embrace all positions to the right of them that get any steam. It’s seen them move from being the party bring the UK into the EU to leaving it. Being responsible for the the creation of the ECHR to calling for its end. If the Tories made this change in legislation they would anger the the right of their party. This would cause them to flip position back to where we are now. The total result would have them lose moderate votes that would no longer trust them with women’s health care.

  • @jordanlund@lemmy.world
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    278 months ago

    I heard a good news article on unexplained miscarriages on NPR last week.

    There’s a correlation between having a healthy baby and the volume of the placenta. Small placentas result in loss.

    Which makes sense, the placenta is passing all the oxygen and nutrients to the baby, if it fails to size up, the baby is starved of nutrients and… well…

    The doctor who invented the process to measure placental volume is getting the usual pushback from established medicine though. :(

    Worth a listen if you have time:

    https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/placenta-pregnancy-loss/

    • Chetzemoka
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      Almost all miscarriages are unexplained. Because research into health issues that primarily affect women is still in the fucking dark ages.

      I had a friend who suffered multiple miscarriages (including one that wouldn’t complete itself and almost required surgical intervention because she was bleeding so badly - a procedure that her home state of Ohio is trying to ban now because it’s the exact same procedure that is used in electric elective abortions.

      After so many losses they finally figured out that her progesterone levels were extremely low and supplemented progesterone the next time she got pregnant. She now has a healthy baby boy as a result.

      Medicine doesn’t even have solutions for so many of these problems, and half the government wants to take away one of the few tools available to us to keep women alive and healthy.

    • @DevCat@lemmy.worldOP
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      298 months ago

      I am a CIS male and run the Flo app just to mess with their stats and tracking. You wouldn’t believe how often my period is off!

      • @sbexpert@lemmy.world
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        248 months ago

        I’ve never used an app to track, but as a teen my periods were so inconsistent that they would probably think I was pregnant and miscarrying every 3 months. There were times I didn’t bleed for 3 months then bled for 2, for years. This led me to starting birth control years before I ever had sex for the first time. I definitely would have been on some watchlist if that took place today.

        Luckily, after years of trying to stop birth control (and going right back into that weird bleeding cycle every time! >:[ wtf body) my new doctor agreed to do a hysterectomy! It was just recently done, so I’m still recovering, but I’m so fucking happy I never have to deal with periods and bc pills ever again!

        Sorry for the novel lol

      • @SARGEx117@lemmy.world
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        178 months ago

        Same! I had a pregnancy scare a few weeks ago, but I’m back on my period again with my nonexistent uterus. Phew.

        • @averagedrunk@lemmy.ml
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          128 months ago

          I bled 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and 21st of October. I plan on doing it backwards this month. My cup and non-existent uterus runneth over. I’m thinking of having a pregnancy scare next month sometime, just in time for the holidays.

    • @helenslunch@feddit.nl
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      8 months ago

      It’s called data poisoning. I run AdNauseum and TrackMeNot which both do something similar but I’m shocked at the lack of data poisoning software development.

      Hiding your data can be hard but filling your profile with junk is trivial by comparison.

      • @sailingbythelee@lemmy.world
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        18 months ago

        I suspect there is plenty of data poisoning software development. However, most of it is private development for use in the lucrative business of click farming.

        The World Federation of Advertisers estimates that ad fraud (which is data poisoning with extra steps) accounts for 10-30% of clicks, globally.

        • @helenslunch@feddit.nl
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          18 months ago

          I guess the question is why isn’t there more public development? Why doesn’t EFF add this to privacy badger?

      • @theneverfox@pawb.social
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        18 months ago

        Data poisoning is part of my moral system. If a company asks me a personal question, I give them a slightly incorrect answer

        I’ve been doing it since I started using the Internet, and it pays off. My information is all scrambled… It’s still out there since it’s all been leaked, but it’s enough to make it hard to process my info

  • misery mansion
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    128 months ago

    100% nonsense if you apply some logic. British police have 0 time or budget to be investigating this. If someone stole my wallet while I was standing in front of a police officer they wouldn’t be able to do a thing about it

    By all means don’t use software that shares your personal information with anyone but also don’t waste time getting het up by this article