Abortion is illegal for millions. Will Big Tech help prosecute it?

Even before Roe v. Wade was overturned, tech workers and privacy advocates had a big question: Will Big Tech help in abortion prosecutions by sharing user data with police?

Nearly a week since the Supreme Court made abortion illegal for millions of Americans, the companies still haven’t given an answer. And some employees are getting frustrated, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.

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EXPLAINER: Abortion, tech and surveillance
With abortion now or soon to be illegal in over a dozen states and severely restricted in many more, Big Tech companies that vacuum up personal details of their users are facing new calls to limit that tracking and surveillance. One fear is that law enforcement or vigilantes could use those data troves against people seeking ways to end unwanted pregnancies.

The abortion clues that can hide on your phone
After the Supreme Court overturned citizens’ constitutional right to abortion in the US, there has been concern about data protection, particularly in the 13 states which have already moved to make ending a pregnancy illegal.

After Roe, Dems seek probe of tech’s use of personal data
With the Supreme Court ending the constitutional protections for abortion, four Democratic lawmakers are asking federal regulators to investigate Apple and Google for allegedly deceiving millions of mobile phone users by enabling the collection and sale of their personal data to third parties.

Apple and Google should face FTC probe over ad practices that could end up harming abortion-seekers, US lawmakers say
The Federal Trade Commission should investigate Apple and Google over what they initially told consumers about how their information would be used for advertising purposes, according to a group of US lawmakers warning that the loosely regulated data industry could result in particular harms to abortion-seekers.

Instagram and Facebook remove posts offering abortion pills
Facebook and Instagram have begun promptly removing posts that offer abortion pills to women who may not be able to access them following a Supreme Court decision that stripped away constitutional protections for the procedure.

Instagram hides some posts that mention abortion
Instagram is blocking posts that mention abortion from public view, in some cases requiring its users to confirm their age before letting them view posts that offer up information about the procedure.

Facebook removed posts on abortion pills even when they didn’t break any rules
The status of legal access to abortion is now prohibited, restricted, or uncertain in more than half of the US. However, abortion pills are still deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration, and it’s still legal for consulted certified prescribers to mail abortion pills to patients in any state. Thousands took to social media to post and raise awareness of options for mail-ordering abortion pills, only to have their posts deleted within minutes, sparking user protests of censorship.

Google sign-up a ‘fast track to surveillance’, European consumer groups say
Google is facing action from a coalition of ten European consumer organisations over the company’s account sign-up process. A Google account is essential in order to use a number of its products and services. But the coalition alleges the sign-up process steers users toward options which collect more data.

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