In a post-Roe world, the future of digital privacy looks even bleaker

Several location analytics companies, including Foursquare, recently announced that they restriction of use, sharing and selling data on consumer visits to important locations such as reproductive health clinics. But law enforcement with warrants can still obtain such whereabouts records.

Mobile carriers, which operate the wireless Internet backbone for smartphones, remain silent on plans to change data policy after Roe v. Wade. AT&T, T-Mobile and CTIA, the trade group that represents carriers, declined to comment, and Frank Bulben, Verizon’s chief revenue officer, said the company had nothing to report.

For now, those who want to hide their digital footprints have limited options. Here’s what they are.

Several tools can be used to combat surveillance, experts say, including virtual private networks, encrypted messaging apps, private web browsers and write-in email accounts, civil liberties groups and privacy experts.

What it does: BUT VPN creates a virtual tunnel that protects browsing information from an internet provider. When people use VPN software, their devices connect to the servers of the VPN provider. All their web traffic goes through the internet connection of the VPN provider. So if their ISP was trying to sniff their web traffic while they were browsing the Planned Parenthood website, the ISP would only see the internet address of the VPN server connected to the VPN service.

What it doesn’t do: A VPN does not hide the device’s location from the cellular network. This is because the device must register with the nearest cell tower before connecting to the VPN, which will reveal the location of the device to the mobile operator. Eren said.

What it does: When the message is encrypted via chat services such as Apple’s iMessage, WhatsApp, or Meta’s Signal, it is encrypted when sent so that it becomes unintelligible to anyone but the intended recipient, and remains so when it passes through the application’s server and reaches the recipient.