The Supreme Court has ruled. The constitutional right to an abortion is gone.
We have a mammoth fight ahead - and the surveillance state will only make it worse.
Right now, Google is collecting and storing our location data... creating a honeypot for law enforcement and vigilantes to use to go after abortion seekers.
Tell Google to stop putting abortion seekers in danger.
Google’s location data will enable law enforcement to trample over personal privacy and bodily autonomy. Location data can show who visited an abortion clinic. But did that person actually get an abortion? Maybe. Maybe they received other health care. Or showed up to protest. Figuring out whether someone who visited an abortion clinic received an abortion involves police investigating the outcomes of pregnancies - all based on geofence warrants, a law enforcement tactic ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in Virginia.
The dangers posed by geofence warrants aren’t hypothetical. Geofence dragnet surveillance has already resulted in wrongful arrests - including the arrest of a man who was arrested just because he happened to be biking past a building when a burglary occurred. This invasion of privacy is already happening on a large scale. Last year alone, Google received 11,553 geofence warrants.
This dystopian (and unconstitutional) surveillance clearly endangers abortion seekers. Luckily, Google doesn’t need to collect non-aggregate location data. If Google doesn’t have the data, it can’t hand it over to law enforcement or vigilantes.
There's no reason Google needs the data. Apple does just fine without it.
Google can take major steps to protect abortion seekers. We sent a letter to Google, but we need your help.
Add your voice and tell Google to take this small step to stop putting abortion seekers in danger.
The petition below will be delivered to Google in July during a press event at their DC corporate office.
We write to urge you to stop unnecessarily collecting and retaining customer location data, to prevent that information from being used to identify people who have obtained abortions.
The recent Supreme Court draft opinion shows that the constitutional right to safe, legal abortion — a fundamental right that Americans have known for half a century — is likely to be overturned. If this decision becomes final, many states that have trigger laws will immediately criminalize abortion and Congress may pass a law criminalizing abortion in all 50 states.
In a world in which abortion could be made illegal, Google’s current practice of collecting and retaining extensive records of cell phone location data will allow it to become a tool for extremists looking to crack down on people seeking reproductive health care. That’s because Google stores historical location information about hundreds of millions of smartphone users, which it routinely shares with government agencies.
While Google collects and retains customer location data for various business purposes, including to target online ads, Google is not the only entity to make use of this data. Law enforcement officials routinely obtain court orders forcing Google to turn over its customers’ location information. This includes dragnet “geofence” orders demanding data about everyone who was near a particular location at a given time. In fact, according to data published by Google, one quarter of the law enforcement orders that your company receives each year are for these dragnet geofence orders; Google received 11,554 geofence warrants in 2020.
Google is not required to collect and keep records of its customers’ every movement. Apple has shown that it is not necessary for smartphone companies to retain invasive tracking databases of their customers’ locations. Google’s intentional choice to do so is creating a new digital divide, in which privacy and security are made a luxury.
If abortion is made illegal by the Supreme Court and Congress, it is inevitable that prosecutors will use legal means to hunt down, prosecute and jail people for obtaining critical reproductive health care. The only way to protect your customers’ location data from such outrageous government surveillance is to not keep it in the first place.
To that end, we urge you to promptly reform your data collection and retention practices, so that Google no longer collects unnecessary customer location data nor retains any non-aggregate location data about individual customers, whether in identifiable or anonymized form. Google cannot allow its online advertising-focused digital infrastructure to be weaponized against people seeking abortions.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
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