Senators ask Apple, Google to ban data collection on abortion seekers

A group of U.S. senators led by Ed Markey of Massachusetts has called on Apple and Google to implement new App Store policies that bar developers from collecting data that could threaten women seeking abortions. In separate letters to the CEOs of the two companies, the group said the tech giants “must” take action to protect individuals exercising their rights to choose from decisions against them.

“After the leak of the draft Supreme Court opinion, overturn Roe v. Wadewe are concerned that anti-abortion prosecutors and other actors will attempt to access and exploit personal information — including data about location, online activity, health and biometrics — in ways that threaten the well-being of those exercising their right to choose,” wrote letter to state.

Noting the prevalence of online platforms that sell user information to data brokers, the group warned that abortion prosecutors and “even vigilantes” could use these practices to intimidate or retroactively sexually harass women seeking abortions.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders also signed the letters.letters follow a Earlier this week, congressional Democrats urged Google to stop collecting location data on many of the same issues. The idea that various groups, including law enforcement agencies, could weaponize app data is not an imaginary threat.One Researchers at the Georgetown Center for Legal Privacy and Technology found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has built a mass surveillance system that includes information on nearly all U.S. residents, in part by purchasing data from private companies. The senators asked Pichai and Tim Cook to respond to the letters by June 17.

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