On today's episode of the 5 Things podcast: Should you delete your period-tracking app?
Reporter Amanda Pérez Pintado talks about privacy concerns, amid the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade leak. Plus, an update on inflation, lawmakers pass more aid for Ukraine, reporter Chris Quintana looks into changes to Title IX and the Interior Department will begin to reveal truths about Indigenous schools.
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Good morning. I'm Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Wednesday, the 11th of May 2022. Today weighing the privacy risks on period tracking apps. Plus an update on inflation and more.
Here are some of the top headlines:
Senate Democrats will vote on a bill today to make abortion legal nationally. The Women's Health Protection Act of 2022 does not have enough votes to pass into law, but marks Democrat's first legislative attempt on abortion since a leak showed the Supreme Court may overturn Roe vs. Wade.
The US has scheduled an emergency UN security council meeting today after North Korea tested a ballistic missile that was likely fired from a submarine last week. The test represented Kim Jong-un's recent vow to ramp up nuclear weapons development.
And Mario Batali has been found not guilty of indecent assault and battery. Multiple women have accused the celebrity chef of inappropriate touching, but a Boston judge agreed with Batali's lawyers that the accuser in this case had credibility issues and that photos suggested their encounter was amicable.
Period tracking apps know a lot of information. And now users with privacy concerns fear that intimate data on the apps could be used against them if they seek out an abortion. That's amid the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe vs. Wade. Reporter Amanda Perez Pintado has more.
Amanda Perez Pintado:
So amid the leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, a lot of users of period tracking apps which collect really sensitive information like period length, your symptoms, your mood and your sex drive, it sparked a lot of fear and anxiety among users that, that data could be used against them if they seek an abortion if it becomes illegal. That draft opinion would turn over abortion policy to states. And if states criminalize abortion, the data collected by those apps could be used by law enforcement in investigations regarding abortions.
That's one major cause for concern among users of these apps right now. But even before this leak, reproductive health apps already had a spotty record regarding privacy. Just last year, the Federal Trade Commission settled with the period tracking app Flow after it had shared users' data with marketing firms like Facebook and Google, even though they had promised that information would be private. The information stored in these apps isn't covered by the same federal privacy law that protects our conversations with our medical providers, the Health Insurance Probability and Accountability Act. So these companies can legally share that data. And what's going on with the abortion battle, the fact that data could be out there or could be used by law enforcement, is a cause for concern for a lot of users.
The takeaway or something that I'd like to add would be that whether someone wants to continue using these apps is really up to them. There are some experts that say that these risks outweigh the benefits of the apps, but people use them for a variety of reasons and they may not want to delete them. If that were the case, when you're considering a period tracking app, make sure to review the privacy policies, note things on how they respond to law enforcement and what the data retention policies are.
There are apps like Yuki that claim to have stronger protections in terms of privacy. And the issue of privacy regarding abortions also goes beyond period tracking apps. They're only a small part of what one expert called a small part of the ecosystem of tools and things that can be weaponized against people. So everything we do online pretty much leaves a digital footprint. Period checking apps are just a small part of that.
Subscribers can find Amanda's full story with a link in today's show description. If you haven't already, sign up today for just a dollar a week.
How high will inflation go? We could get some new answers today when the Labor Department releases its report on consumer prices for April. Inflation hit a new 40 year high last month at 8.6% annually. That was driven by a number of factors, including supply chain issues, pandemic related worker shortages that have boosted wages and strong consumer demand led by federal stimulus money. Higher prices are raising concerns that consumers will eventually cut spending, which would hurt economic growth. Last week, the Federal Reserve raised its key short term interest rate by a massive half percentage point, its largest hike since 2000. Fed chair, Jerome Powell.
Making appropriate monetary policy in this uncertain environment requires a recognition that the economy often evolves in unexpected ways. Inflation has obviously surprised to the upside over the past year and further surprises could be in store. We therefore will need to be nimble in responding to incoming data and the evolving outlook.
President Joe Biden addressed inflation yesterday at the White House, on the same day gas prices hit a record high of $4.37 cents a gallon.
My plan is to lower employer and lower everyday costs for hard working Americans and lower the deficit by asking large corporations and the wealthiest Americans to not engage in price gouging and to pay their fair share in taxes. The Republican plan is to increase taxes on the middle class families led billionaires and large companies off the hook.
Biden is increasingly pitting Democrats against Republicans in the inflation conversation. He even pointed to so-called ultra MAGA Republicans during yesterday's speech, a reference to the wing of the party most affiliated with former President Donald Trump. Republican Senator Rick Scott released an 11 point plan in February that would put a modest tax increase on many of the lowest paid Americans and would open the door for cutting social security and Medicare. He called on Biden to resign yesterday.
Joe Biden gave a talk this morning, blamed everybody else on inflation. He took no responsibility and has no plan. I think what authorities know is this president has no ability to deal with inflation. In the private sector, when you have a CEO that doesn't have the ability to deal with something, they resign, they go on do something else. Joe Biden ought to do the exact same thing, and that's the only way we're ever going to get inflation under control in this country.
For more on inflation and today's consumer prices report, stay with USATODAY.com.
The House has approved an additional $40 billion in aid for Ukraine. The package passed by a massive margin.
On this vote, the yeas are 368, the nays are 57.
The bill will head to the Senate for a vote next. Senators, Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal, a Republican and Democrat, also want the Senate to vote on a measure designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Putin has challenged the world. He's putting in question everything we believe in. If he's still standing when this is over and he's not labeled a state sponsor of terrorism, we've missed a mark. Every law in the book regarding war crimes have been violated. Every international norm has been turned upside down. For 20 years, he's literally gotten away with murder. Now, it's time to designate him in a fashion befitting his conduct. He is a terrorist and Russia is in the hands of a terrorist state run by Putin.
If there is anybody who embodies terrorism and totalitarianism and torture, it is Vladimir Putin. And Russia, unfortunately, is in his hands.
In Ukraine, the national gas pipeline operator has stopped Russian shipments through a major hub in the country's east. It's the first time natural gas supply has been affected since Russia invaded in February. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said its forces are gradually pushing away Russian troops around the second largest city of Kharkiv in the country's northeast. Russian forces have made advances in the eastern Donbas region and control more of it than they did before the war began. But a US official reported that Russia appears to be at least two weeks behind schedule in its attempt to take over the industrial region.
The Education Department is expected to release changes to Title IX, regulating how colleges investigate sexual assault and protect transgender students. But reporter Chris Quintana says it could take some time.
Title IX is the federal rule that prohibits sex discrimination in schools and colleges and universities. And so Biden has long said and campaigned on a promise to redo or revamp the Trump era interpretation of these Title IX rules. And what that looks like, largely experts say, is more protections for students who are accused of sexual misconduct. So they built in more due process, more rights and more steps that universities are expected to follow in this process. But a lot of people have said that, that has a chilling effect on people coming forward to report these incidences of sexual violence or harassment. And so the Biden administration has indicated it wants to revert to previous rules favored by the Obama administration. And Biden was involved in that process as well when he was vice president.
We're still expecting to see in these new draft rules more codified protections for transgender students. The Education Department and the administration have already stated that they believe that Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. But what people are looking for is to see that codified in regulations. And so the question there would be, and this is coming from one of our excerpts in the story, Brett Sokol, the big question there is will the federal government require universities to allow transgender female students to compete in female athletic competitions? There are a lot of states that have laws in the book right now preventing that. And so a federal statute would... That's how it works, the federal rule trumps state rules. So that's a big question. And so we're waiting and seeing what this guidance looks like.
This process and these particular rules, it's a very long and bureaucratic process. Like the Trump era education department issued its final proposed rules in 2018. And those didn't go into effect until 2020. So what we're getting is the draft rules. And so there will be a period for public comment. And so it's going to be a little bit longer until we actually see these rules go into effect. And this is challenging for universities and for students who are always in a back and forth with these rules. It changes every four or five years and it can be really hard to keep up with and it makes it difficult to enforce those rules.
The Interior Department will release the first volume of a report today that'll begin to uncover the truth about the federal government's past oversight of Native American boarding schools. Indigenous children for decades were routinely taken from their communities and forced into schools that worked to strip them of their culture and identity. The Interior report was prompted by the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential school sites in Canada. According to The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, at least 367 boarding schools for Native Americans operated in the US. Many of them in Oklahoma, where tribes were relocated with many also in Arizona, Alaska, New Mexico and South Dakota.
Thanks for listening to 5 Things. You can find us wherever you're listening right now seven mornings a week. Thanks to PJ Elliot for his great work on the show. And I'm back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: More aid for Ukraine, how high will inflation go?: 5 Things podcast