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In 2022, tech companies have access to all kinds of details about our private lives. From location data to search and browser history, there is an enormous amount of information about us that can be weaponized by law enforcement, government officials or even vigilantes to investigate, harass and take legal action against people seeking abortions.

Here’s what that could look like:

  • Tracking and selling data about what we do, with whom and where. Tech companies and brokers are unfortunately all too willing to sell this information to the highest bidder, which can include police and prosecutors.
  • Targeted ads can use our personal data to target us with disinformation and anti-abortion messages. In 2016, an anti-abortion activist was able to serve targeted location ads with anti-abortion messaging to people waiting in a Planned Parenthood clinic.
  • Law enforcement and prosecutors can subpoena pretty much any information from our digital devices, including the whereabouts of people seeking reproductive health care, search terms and results, or other conversations we have about abortion access.

Already 13 states have outlawed abortion (and many more will follow). Right now there is nothing stopping private companies from selling location data of people visiting abortion clinics to anti-abortion vigilantes and law enforcement. Based on their location data, people seeking abortion care could be doxxed, harassed, or even arrested and imprisoned.

It’s crucial that tech companies and the government take immediate action to protect our data. This is one of the many reasons Free Press Action launched the #HandsOffMyData campaign — a comprehensive effort standing up to the government, tech companies and corporations that access, track and sell your data without your permission.

Here’s what we’re doing to fight back:

  • We’re working with lawmakers to pass data-privacy legislation to limit the data collected about each of us and ensure that your data can’t be sold to law enforcement without a warrant.
  • We’re in direct conversations with tech platforms to keep users safe and aren’t afraid to turn up the pressure. These companies have the power to create and enforce terms of service that would keep your location, searches and data safe.

Our privacy rights hang in the balance. It’s critical that we work fast to ensure that the government, law enforcement, tech companies and corporations keep their #HandsOffMyData. People’s lives are literally on the line.

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