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Extremely Online: Data privacy after Roe v. Wade

The picture shows an employee typing on a computer keyboard at the headquarters of Internet security giant Kaspersky in Moscow.
The picture shows an employee typing on a computer keyboard at the headquarters of Internet security giant Kaspersky in Moscow.

Tech companies are constantly tracking and selling your data to third parties, often without explicit consent from users.It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that isn’t regulated on a federal level, although the European Union and some U.S. states have implemented their own privacy laws.

Privacy advocates and supporters of the pro-choice movement have raised the alarm about how personal data could be used by law enforcement and anti-abortion activists if Roe vs. Wade is overturned by a Supreme Court decision this summer. 

Alejandra Caraballo is a clinical instructor at the Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic.From applications that track menstrual cycles to location data on visits to Planned Parenthood clinics, she argues there’s great potential for personal data to be used in criminal investigations:

Any kind of fertility or menstruation tracking application that’s not encrypted and specifically states it does not collect any data should not be used. It’s fairly typical for a large number of women to have miscarriages and those miscarriages can be criminalized.

There have been several bills sponsored by Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden to limit the information tech companies can collect from individuals and provide to law enforcement.

He joins a panel conversation about the role digital privacy plays in reproductive rights.

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