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Apple, Harvard release preliminary data to help destigmatize menstrual symptoms

The landmark study’s first set of data offers insights into menstruation and the experiences of menstruators across the US

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Menstrual cycles are an important window into one’s overall health, but the topic is notably under-researched. Medical research on menstruation often has not been representative of the broader population. Without substantial scientific data, menstrual symptoms have historically lent themselves to dismissal, or have even been minimized as overreaction or oversensitivity.

The Apple Women’s Health Study team at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health released a preliminary study update, offering pioneering scientific insights on menstruators and their symptoms, made possible through the innovative research methodology of the Research app.

With 10,000 participants of varying ages and races across the US, the study highlights how large-scale, longitudinal research on menstruation can help destigmatize menstruation. The landmark study allows for collection of a comprehensive set of cycle tracking and other health data, strengthened through participant surveys.

Through the Research app, the Apple Women’s Health Study invites people who have periods across the US to contribute to research simply by using their iPhone, and Apple Watch if they have one.

“This natural monthly occurrence is something we should be having more discussions about,” said Dr. Shruthi Mahalingaiah, one of the study’s principal investigators and an assistant professor of environmental, reproductive, and women’s health at the Harvard Chan School.

Destigmatizing menstruation and its symptoms

The early results of the study validates menstruator’s experiences including symptoms that are less commonly known. The most frequently tracked symptoms were abdominal cramps, bloating, and tiredness, all of which were experienced by more than 60 percent of participants who logged symptoms.

More than half of the participants who logged symptoms reported acne and headaches. Some less widely recognised symptoms, like diarrhoea and sleep changes, were tracked by 37 percent of participants logging symptoms.

“Our study will help to achieve a more gender equal future, in which all people with menstrual cycles have access to the health services and menstrual products needed to feel safe and empowered,” said Dr. Michelle Williams, Dean of the Faculty at Harvard Chan School.

The study team will further investigate the preliminary data and submit a detailed analysis, including a breakdown of methods, for peer review and journal publication.

The Apple Women’s Health Study is a first-of-its-kind research study that aims to advance the understanding of menstrual cycles and how they relate to various health conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, infertility, and menopausal transition. iPhone and Apple Watch users across the US download the Research app to enrol in the study, conducted in partnership with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Participants must be at least 18 years old (at least 19 years old in Alabama and Nebraska and at least 21 years old in Puerto Rico) and have menstruated at least once in their life.

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Singpass app now available on Huawei AppGallery

Easier access for Huawei users

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Singpass

Huawei continues to beef up the AppGallery’s library of apps. One of the latest additions is Singpass.

Singpass is an app that gives Singapore residents easy access to over 1,400 everyday services from more than 340 government agencies and private organizations. These include viewing their Central Provident Fund (CPF), filing taxes with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), accessing bank accounts and renewing insurance policies — with a quick scan and tap on their smartphones. Users do not have to
enter their passwords.

Singpass was developed by the Government Technology Agency or GovTech. It was launched in 2003 to facilitate convenient digital transactions with Singapore government agencies.

Since then, the service has been further enhanced to include an improved user interface, mobile features and stronger security capabilities. Its latest features include Singpass Face Verification, Digital IC and digital signing.

The launch of the Singpass app on AppGallery offers local users of Huawei devices a third 2FA method when accessing services, in addition to the SMS One-Time Password (OTP) and Singpass Face Verification 2FA modes. As of March 2021, the Singpass app has garnered over 2.5 million users, with over 70 percent of all Singpass transactions conducted through the app.

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Apple’s Find My service can now locate e-bikes, earbuds

Making it easier to find your lost accessories

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Apple’s Find My iPhone helps you locate a lost iPhone by signing into your Apple ID. Similar tracking service is also available on Android. Though, Apple is now opening up the service to third-party accessories.

Find My was originally announced last summer at WWDC 2020 and builds on an existing service called Find My iPhone. Apple has initially partnered with Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof that will bring their new devices eligible for the Find My network program starting next week.

Currently, three products are supported — VanMoof’s S3 and X3 e-bikes, Belkin’s Soundform Freedom True Wireless Earbuds, and Chipolo ONE Spot tracker.

Any hardware company can introduce gadgets that support Apple’s service — as long as they adhere to the Made for iPhone (MFi) Program and privacy protocols of the Find My network. The user will see all the devices on a map and even control them remotely, like playing a sound, displaying a message, or erasing it completely.

If the device is offline, Find My network’s crowdsourced Bluetooth feature can show an approximate location. The company also announced a draft specification for chipmakers that will allow accessories to tap into the iPhone’s ultra Wideband chip, giving more accurate location information. The entire network uses end-to-end encryption to keep your information, and your device’s location, private.

There was initial speculation that Apple could also launch its own “AirTags” alongside the rollout, however, that announcement wasn’t made. All Find My items or devices will have a “Works with Apple Find My” badge. In case a lost gadget is found by someone, they can use their Find My app to identify and report the found item.

While the feature won’t be very useful instantly because of limited compatible devices, we expect Apple to announce more partnerships and options at WWDC 2021. As long as your iPhone, iPad, or Mac is running iOS 14.3, iPadOS 14.3, or macOS Big Sir 11.1, respectively, the

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Personal data, phone numbers of 533 million Facebook users leaked

A 2019 leak has reemerged

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Data from hundreds of millions of Facebook users was leaked online, including personal information such as phone numbers, full names, and email addresses. The data belongs to 533 million users across 106 countries.

The data is believed to be more than a year old, but security experts say the information could still be used by criminals to commit identity theft or fraud. The development was shared by the chief technology officer of cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock, Alon Gal, and was first reported by Business Insider.

That data included records on 32 million users in the United States, 11 million users in the United Kingdom, and six million in India. The details include names, gender, occupation, marital and relationship status, the date of joining, and workplace.

“This is old data that was previously reported on in 2019,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “We found and fixed this issue in August 2019.” However, experts believe the data is still freely flowing on forums, the dark web, and community sites. According to Vice Motherboard, a Telegram bot lets hackers find a user’s info (provided if it is breached) by entering known credentials like username, email ID, or phone number.

Even though the leaked data is a couple of years old, it could provide valuable information to cybercriminals, Gal added. There’s isn’t much Facebook can do as the database is now freely flowing on the internet. The incident does serve as a reminder to users that their data is susceptible, and they should be careful about freely sharing it with third-party sites.

The incident also focuses on Facebook’s long-term responsibility of managing and securing collected data to ensure it isn’t weaponized easily. The Cambridge Analytics scandal was just the tip of the iceberg, and it’s getting harder and harder for Facebook to justify its ad and interests-based business model.

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