Pro-Choice and privacy campaigners are warning that app data and other personal data extracted from smartphones could be used to prosecute women who have had abortions.
Concerns have been raised in the light of the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion, which sets out to remove legal protections for both abortionists and medical professionals who perform them. Indeed, under some state laws, it may even be illegal to send a text message offering help or support.
A wave of new legislation targeting abortion rights across the country is raising concerns about the potential use of personal data to punish those who seek information or access to online abortion services.
In some of the most restrictive states, digital rights experts warn that people’s search histories, location data, messages and other digital information could be used by law enforcement agencies to investigate or prosecute cases related to abortion.
Concerns about the digital privacy implications of abortion restrictions come amid a movement in recent years by Republican-controlled states including Georgia, Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma to pass laws that severely curtail access to the service. And they take on added importance after the Supreme Court’s draft opinion leaked on Monday that Roe v. Wade, which guarantees a person’s constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before viability (usually around 24 weeks). Reversing a landmark 1973 ruling would change the landscape of reproductive health in the US, leaving abortion policy up to the individual states and potentially paving the way for more than 20 states to pass new laws prohibiting abortion. Will happen.
This piece gives an example of how app data can be used to provide prosecution evidence.
For example, in states that help abortion-seekers, such as Texas and Oklahoma, data from women’s period-tracking or pregnancy apps can be terminated as evidence against the person helping them, said Danielle Citron. , a professor of law at the University of Virginia and author of the forthcoming book “The Fight for Privacy.” “Let’s say you’ve got your period, your period stops and then in a short amount of time you have your period again,” Citron said. “Its [potential] Evidence of your own criminality, or your doctor’s criminality.”
Something as basic as a text message to drive a friend to the airport so they can have an out-of-state abortion – could potentially be used as evidence for prosecution in some states.
Some lawmakers have also put forward proposals that would effectively ban citizens from having abortions outside the state. Missouri State Representative Elizabeth Coleman is pushing for a provision that would allow citizens to sue for “aiding or abetting” a Missouri resident in getting an abortion, including state doctors, friends who help arrange transportation Or even host a website that “encourages or facilitates efforts by Missouri residents to have elective abortions. And other states may follow suit.”
Many experts warn that it is impossible for the law to actually prevent abortion – it can only prevent Safe Abortion history shows that people who are denied legal access to abortion will instead seek underground alternatives, which could put their lives at risk.
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