40+ Democrats in Congress call for Google Stop collecting and retaining client location data that prosecutors can use to identify women who have abortions.
“We fear that in a world where abortion may be outlawed, Google’s current practice of collecting and maintaining massive records of cellphone location data will make it a tool for far-right extremists to target abortion-seeking reproductive health care. This It’s because Google stores the historical location information of hundreds of millions of smartphone users and often shares this information with government agencies,” Democrats wrote on May 24 in a letter Led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.).The letter has been sent to the Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Specifically, Google should stop collecting “unnecessary customer location data” or “any non-aggregated location data about an individual customer, whether in an identifiable or anonymized form. Google cannot allow its online advertising-focused digital base Facilities become a weapon against women,” the lawmakers wrote. They also told Google that people who use iPhones “have greater privacy than the tens of millions of Americans who use Android devices, from government monitoring of their movements.”
this draft Supreme Court decision overturned Roe v Wade Abortion may be severely restricted or banned in many states, Democrats wrote: “Republicans in Congress have discuss Pass a law criminalizing abortion in all 50 states, giving the government control over a woman’s body. “
Location data from an Android phone
Democrats told Pichai in the letter:
While Google deserves credit for being one of the first companies in the US to insist on authorization before disclosing location data to law enforcement, it’s not enough. If the far-right Supreme Court and Republican lawmakers outlaw abortion, right-wing prosecutors will inevitably get legal warrants to hunt down, prosecute and jail women who access critical reproductive health care services. The only way to protect your customers’ location data from this heinous government surveillance is to not keep it in the first place.
They wrote that Google “obtains details from Android smartphones that collect and transmit location information to Google regardless of whether the phone is in use or which app the user has open”.although android Users must opt-in to this data collection.” Google has designed its Android operating system so that consumers can only let third-party apps access location data if they also allow Google to receive their location data. As a result, Google can only collect location data from iPhone users when they use the Google Maps app,” the lawmakers wrote.
We reached out to Google about this letter yesterday and will update this article if we hear back.
Exactly how Google’s location privacy settings work has been a baffling question, even for some Googlers.as we Written in August 2020documents from Arizona’s consumer fraud lawsuit against Google “show that company employees knew of and discussed among themselves the company’s location privacy settings that are confusing and potentially misleading.”
Democrats say iPhone users have more privacy
With many cheaper smartphones running on Android, lawmakers warn of a “digital divide” that affects the privacy of low-income people:
There is no law requiring Google to collect and keep records of customers’ every move. Apple has shown that smartphone companies don’t need to keep intrusive tracking databases of their customers’ locations. Google’s intentional choice in doing this is to create a new digital divide where privacy and security are seen as luxuries. Americans who can afford an iPhone have greater privacy from government surveillance of their actions than the tens of millions of Americans who use Android devices.