Texas abortion ban could lead to surge in data requests

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Photo: Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool (Getty Images)

Texas Heartbeat Act Illegal abortion After six weeks in Texas, there are many worrying perspectives, but one of the less obvious is the potential role that large tech companies may play in facilitating upcoming legal cases against healthcare providers .

Critical law Say No Give Women have the opportunity to realize that they are pregnant, and the state has changed its regulations to allow civil lawsuits against any doctor or organization that performs abortions after the authorization period. Such lawsuits can also be brought against any individual who “helped and abetted” in the process-which could open the door to a large number of arbitrary cases.

Attempt to appeal to the Supreme Court struggle Earlier this week. Now, any individual or group in Texas can bring a civil lawsuit “against anyone” who “performs or induces an abortion in violation of the law.”The new regulations are so vague that many people worry that it will cast a big net-and may even apply to Uber driver Who transports a person to the clinic for an abortion.

In this case, critics have noticed that data requests related to such legal cases may surge.As an agreement Pointed out recently, Legal process discover-One of the parties requires the other to provide information that may prove relevant to the case-can allow a large amount of data to be shared with the court. The socket is written like this:

How will Facebook respond to the subpoena asking for the IP address of the administrator of the abortion rights organization fundraising on the platform? If Google receives a request for information about the name and email address of an advertiser who provides information on how to obtain abortions for women in Texas, what will they do?

We contacted Apple, Google, Facebook, And Twitter asked their position on data requests related to litigation involving the new law. None of them responded to us, but if they do, we will update this story.

this Electronic Frontier FoundationOften speak out on behalf of the right to data privacy, that the new law is being implemented The floodgates of fragile lawsuits against fragile targets-and the like may encourage volunteer police officers and threaten freedom of speech.

“The law has created a backbone of bounty hunters who can use the courts to punish and suppress anyone whose online propaganda, education, and other statements about abortion arouse their anger,” The EFF said In a recent column“There is no doubt that this will lead to a large number of private lawsuits against online speakers who publish information about abortion rights and access rights in Texas, with little consideration of the merits of these lawsuits or the speeches. One amendment protection.”

Speaking With agreement, Evan Greer Non-profit internet Advocacy group Fight for future Said that the legislation could “cause a surge in courts’ requests for user data from technology companies that have large amounts of user data.” Greer added that she believes the law may “be abused by anti-abortion groups and they may use discovery procedures in civil litigation. To request sensitive information.”

Gizmodo lends a helping hand Whole women’s health, Recently submitted the unfortunate abortion care provider Legal challenge Violation of the law. WWH’s vice president, Andrea Ferrigno, said in a telephone interview that the Heartbeat Act is “unprecedented” and will have an unfortunate effect on women across the state.

“It’s hard to say in which direction this all will go,” said Ferigno, who described the law as an “widespread” attack on abortion rights, and it could seduce family members like women who have received illegal abortions. Diverse people. “We will continue to fight it, but we will also abide by it,” she added when talking about the new law. “This is our only choice.”

As mentioned earlier, no technology company responded to requests for comment on this story.So far, this silence is typical of the technology industry’s response to the new Texas law-perhaps the best generalization is Elon Musk’s recent Comments on hand washing issues: “I would rather stay away from politics.” This is strange to the technology industry. At least, the technology industry is very practical in providing oral services to the ideals of progress.

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