In light of attacks on reproductive freedoms, it’s time for Google to reform their data collection practices.
The constitutional right to a safe and legal abortion is currently at risk. On May 3, 2022, a draft opinion was leaked in which the Supreme Court voted to overrule the landmark Roe v. Wade opinion, which assured a constitutional right to abortion. If SCOTUS follows through on this draft—with a final opinion likely come late this month—abortion rights in the United States will no longer be constitutionally guaranteed. Many states have trigger laws, that upon Roe v. Wade being overturned, will make abortion immediately illegal. While abortion will remain protected in some states for the time being, Congress may eventually pass a law criminalizing abortion in all 50 states. With reproductive freedoms under attack, Google data collection practices represent a potentially disastrous scenario for people seeking abortions within the United States. In a world where Google has been subpoenaed for geolocation data in a wide variety of cases, it’s not hard to envision prosecutors seeking geofence warrants and geolocation data for suspected abortion-seekers. But if Google never collects and retains that data, it can’t be used against their users. That’s why Restore The Fourth, along with other civil, reproductive, & digital rights groups, has signed onto a letter urging Google to reform their data collection practices in light of the recent Roe v. Wade draft opinion. You can read the letter here.