Report warns against tools used to monitor pregnant people / Public Information Service


A new report is ringing alarm bells over surveillance technology that could be used to target pregnant women if and when Roe v. Wade is canceled.

Since the Supreme Court’s draft opinion leaked that at least five justices are considering overturning the landmark abortion ruling, New York lawmakers have passed bills to protect patients and abortion providers and to limit the power of other states to extradite people seeking abortions in New York.

Albert Fox Cahn, founder and executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project and co-author of the report, said search engine tools such as geofencing and keyword warrants are already being used to track pregnant women and could be used. extended without Roe.

“Any app on our phone that collects our data is one court order away from being turned into a law enforcement tool,” Fox Cahn said. “And while that has been the reality for countless Americans for years, it’s going to be a life-changing threat to pregnant women in America.”

The report highlighted a case in Mississippi where a woman’s search history was used to charge her with second-degree murder after a miscarriage. Fox Cahn urged lawmakers to enact privacy protections to complement abortion protections. He noted that a ban on geofencing warrants is underway in the Legislative Assembly.

Fox Cahn pointed out that even if the bill to stop extraditions of abortion patients in New York is approved, law enforcement would still be able to share surveillance data with other jurisdictions.

“Just as we have seen for years that even when we claim to be a sanctuary city in New York, our police data is still being used to target our undocumented neighbors,” Fox Cahn pointed out.

A group of 42 lawmakers signed a letter to Google’s CEO last month, asking the company to stop collecting and retaining location data from its users.

Fox Cahn added that this was just the latest warning since 9/11 of privacy-threatening surveillance tools installed in the name of national security.

“I think this is really going to be an inflection point in the history of surveillance in America,” Fox Cahn said. “Because I think we can no longer deny how dangerous these surveillance technologies are.”

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