Google knowledge assortment might endanger abortion seekers, say Dems

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR

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A bunch of 42 Democratic lawmakers urged Google CEO Sundar Pichai in a letter Tuesday to cease gathering and holding pointless or non-aggregated location knowledge that may very well be used to determine folks looking for abortions.

The letter comes forward of the anticipated reversal of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Courtroom case that protected the federal proper to an abortion, after Politico revealed a draft opinion that will just do that. The court docket has not but issued its ultimate ruling, however the Chief Justice confirmed the draft was genuine.

The prospect has raised fears that location knowledge or search histories may very well be used in opposition to folks looking for abortions or those that supply them in states the place they’re unlawful to acquire.

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Led by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., the lawmakers wrote, “we’re involved that, in a world through which abortion may very well be made unlawful, Google’s present follow of gathering and retaining intensive data of cellphone location knowledge will permit it to turn into a software for far-right extremists seeking to crack down on folks looking for reproductive well being care with authorities businesses.”

In response to the letter, Google has stated it acquired 11,554 geofence warrants in 2020, a kind of court docket order that will require the corporate to show over knowledge from customers in a sure location at a sure time. It is unclear with what number of of these Google has cooperated.

“Whereas Google deserves credit score for being one of many first corporations in America to insist on a warrant earlier than disclosing location knowledge to legislation enforcement, that’s not sufficient,” the lawmakers wrote. “If abortion is made unlawful by the far-right Supreme Courtroom and Republican lawmakers, it’s inevitable that right-wing prosecutors will receive authorized warrants to seek out, prosecute and jail ladies for acquiring essential reproductive well being care. The one solution to shield your clients’ location knowledge from such outrageous authorities surveillance is to not hold it within the first place.”

The lawmakers drew a distinction between Google and Apple, saying, “Apple has proven that it isn’t vital for smartphone corporations to retain invasive monitoring databases of their clients’ areas. Google’s intentional selection to take action is creating a brand new digital divide, through which Privateness and safety are made a luxurious. Individuals who can afford an iPhone have higher privateness from authorities surveillance of their actions than the tens of hundreds of thousands Individuals utilizing Android gadgets.”

Final week, 16 Democrats signed onto a letter to Federal Commerce Fee Chair Lina Khan, urging the company to guard knowledge privateness for these looking for reproductive healthcare.

A Google spokesperson didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

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