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Data Flows: Monetizing Periods

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Nanna K L Kaalund.

Self-tracking applications promise scientific and exact knowledge about people’s bodies through data analysis. The fastest growing sub-sector of these are fertility or period tracking apps. In my PhD research I ask on how the unpaid work that feeds the commodification of user data is understood by women who use fertility apps and thereby navigate the intersection of data as source of value and knowledge. I hope to contribute to the ongoing discussion about (data/surveillance) capitalism. In my presentation, I begin by laying out the context of period tracking applications and why they are uniquely situated to study the commodification of menstruation and data. I discuss the predominant claims of the tech industry that “your phone knows you better than yourself” and provide an overview over popular apps, and their business models, and how they are set up to collect user data. Finally, I outline my future research plans and methodology.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group series.

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