Big Tech asked to protect user data from US states prosecuting abortion

Major tech companies face new questions after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

With so-called “trigger states” set to criminalize abortion, civil rights activists have raised concerns that US courts could order tech companies to hand over data about users seeking abortion services.

Since Friday, many advocacy groups and social media users have been sharing tips for protecting personal data.

This includes, for example, advice on using browsers with a small dataset or using virtual private networks and encrypted messaging systems when transferring confidential information.

BUT recent report the digital activist group EFF also encourages users to set up additional email addresses and phone numbers for specific messages.

Even before Rowe was ousted, some US lawmakers called on Google and the US Federal Trade Commission to protect the data of online consumers seeking medical care.

Google and Facebook owner Meta have balked at broad government requests for information in the past, but the big tech companies have yet to be clear on the matter.

In their privacy policies, most companies state that they grant law enforcement access to user data in response to a valid order.

In the past, there have been cases in the United States where women have been prosecuted for attempting an illegal abortion.

In 2018, the Mississippi Attorney’s Office used Latis Fischer’s online search history of abortion and miscarriage pills as evidence against her in court.

Some legislators, such as the Missouri State Representative Mary Elizabeth Coleman – even put forward proposals that effectively prohibit citizens from traveling to another state to legalize abortion.

The proposed laws would also penalize anyone who can help them cross state borders to undergo a procedure.