Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR
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A gaggle of 42 Democratic lawmakers urged Google CEO Sundar Pichai in a letter Tuesday to cease amassing and maintaining pointless or non-aggregated location knowledge that may very well be used to determine individuals searching for abortions.
The letter comes forward of the anticipated reversal of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Courtroom case that protected the federal proper to an abortion, after Politico revealed a draft opinion that may just do that. The court docket has not but issued its closing ruling, however the Chief Justice confirmed the draft was genuine.
The prospect has raised fears that location knowledge or search histories may very well be used towards individuals searching for abortions or those that provide them in states the place they’re unlawful to acquire.
Led by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., the lawmakers wrote, “we’re involved that, in a world during which abortion may very well be made unlawful, Google’s present apply of amassing and retaining in depth data of cellphone location knowledge will permit it to turn into a software for far-right extremists trying to crack down on individuals searching for reproductive well being care. That is as a result of Google shops historic location details about tons of of tens of millions of smartphone customers, which it routinely shares with authorities companies.”
In line with the letter, Google has stated it obtained 11,554 geofence warrants in 2020, a sort of court docket order that may require the corporate to show over knowledge from customers in a sure location at a sure time. It is unclear with what number of of these Google has cooperated.
“Whereas Google deserves credit score for being one of many first corporations in America to insist on a warrant earlier than disclosing location knowledge to regulation enforcement, that’s not sufficient,” the lawmakers wrote. “If abortion is made unlawful by the far-right Supreme Courtroom and Republican lawmakers, it’s inevitable that right-wing prosecutors will receive authorized warrants to seek out, prosecute and jail ladies for acquiring essential reproductive well being care. The one technique to defend your prospects’ location knowledge from such outrageous authorities surveillance is to not hold it within the first place.”
The lawmakers drew a distinction between Google and Apple, saying, “Apple has proven that it isn’t obligatory for smartphone corporations to retain invasive monitoring databases of their prospects’ areas. Google’s intentional selection to take action is creating a brand new digital divide, during which privateness and safety are made a luxurious. People who can afford an iPhone have higher privateness from authorities surveillance of their actions than the tens of tens of millions People utilizing Android units.”
Final week, 16 Democrats signed onto a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan, urging the company to guard knowledge privateness for these searching for reproductive healthcare.
A Google spokesperson didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.