1984 came and went….
Internet usaage provides NOT iron cast privacy for users….
Government agencies can and do go to the internet to gather information…
That could include abortion inquiries….
(Down to locations)
It wouldn’t be hard to do, because states across the country are already using this kind of data for other investigations. And a POLITICO analysis found that many of the states that have criminalized abortion have relied increasingly on location data in recent years to probe crimes including robbery and sexual assault.
Figures from Google, one of the most prolific collectors of location data, show that the company received 5,764 “geofence” warrants between 2018 and 2020 from police in the 10 states that have banned abortion as of July 5. These warrants demand GPS data showing which mobile devices were present in a specified area during a particular time period, and can help investigate individuals who were present at crime scenes or other locations of interest.
Google doesn’t specify what alleged crimes these warrants concerned, and no known cases have come to light yet of geofence warrants being used to prosecute abortions. But the data shows that the use of these warrants is widespread — and that states have established procedures that they could quickly shift for use in abortion investigations.
Abortion foes have already used this kind of data to target mobile ads at people visiting abortion clinics, prompting Massachusetts’ attorney general to crack down in 2016 on an advertising company that was marketing the information. But last month’s Supreme Court ruling increases the peril from the disclosure of such granular personal data, as more states pass laws allowing prosecutions or lawsuits against people who provide or assist in an abortion or help women cross state lines to obtain one.
“Geofence warrants are going to be a uniquely dangerous tool for those states trying to criminalize abortion,” said Andrew Guthrie Ferguson, author of the book “The Rise of Big Data Policing” and a law professor at American University. “In many ways, they are searching for secret, hidden, intimate personal information, using clues about location data.”
Location tracking is just one part of a panoply of data-collection practices that are now center stage in the abortion debate, along with people’s online search histories and information from period-tracking apps….
Apple, whose software runs mobile devices such as its iPhone, cannot respond to geofence warrants, a company spokesperson said. That is because Apple doesn’t store location data in a format accessible to the company, the person said….