Friday’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade raised privacy concerns for women, specifically questions about the privacy threat that could come with certain apps and smartphone location technology.
Some people are praising the decision, while others are vowing to cut ties with clients or vendors in states where abortion is now illegal.
Part of that debate involves the phones that nearly all of us now see as a necessity, and the privacy we give up for the convenience that comes from our technology.
“The privacy issues that we had been increasingly aware of and thinking about all along are playing out in this one particular context,” said Irina Raicu, director of internet ethics at the Markkula Center.
This ruling will make technology privacy issues a hot topic. From who has access to your search history, to what personal data app makers can share about customers.
Also, just the fact that wherever you go, your smartphone can be used as a tracking device.
“The privacy issues involve things like location data sharing and the fact that there are so many data brokers out there that collect all kinds of personal information and are willing to sell it,” said Raicu.
After the ruling, many are suddenly asking how to protect themselves from this kind of tracking.
Espically as some states say they will now consider punishing those who seek, or help someone seek, an abortion in other states.
“The concern is very real for people involved in abortion access and people needing that kind of healthcare,” said Daly Barnett, technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
She suggests reviewing your apps, especially those that might track your movements and healthcare habits. And in some cases, consider leaving your technology behind.
“Just knowing when to turn off and restrict permissions on a device .. So, if you’re going somewhere, you might decide to restrict location services on the apps you’re using, or you might just leave your phone off altogether,” said Barnett.
Friday’s decision also put the spotlight on healthcare. Several companies, from Apple and Tesla, to TikTok and Starbucks, released statements saying they will now help pay for employees who may need to travel to get an abortion.