Apple and Google are being scrutinized for storing abortion data

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It’s been reported that US lawmakers have asked Apple and Google to make it so that their applications can’t collect data that could be used to identify women seeking abortions.

CNET says that the letter, signed by five Democratic and independent senators, comes in the wake of a leaked copy of an anticipated majority opinion indicating that the Supreme Court aims to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling establishing the constitutional right to an abortion.

After a separate letter signed by 42 Democrats and independents was published on Tuesday, calling for Google to stop collecting location data from its users because it could be used to identify people seeking abortions, this announcement was made on Wednesday as well as on Tuesday.

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The senators are concerned that anti-abortion prosecutors and others may try to acquire and use personal information — including data relating to location, online activity, health, and biometrics — “in ways that undermine the wellbeing of people exercising their right to choose.”

The senators noted that many apps in both Apple’s and Google’s respective stores frequently collect this kind of data and subsequently sell it to brokers.

There is nothing prohibiting the brokers from sharing or selling the data to prosecutors or “even vigilantes,” according to the letter, which was sent to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

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