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Phones Know Who Went to an Abortion Clinic. Whom Will They Tell? “…Since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling, companies across the location-data industry are examining and in some cases revising how they handle data regarding visits to abortion clinics. Some are agreeing voluntarily not to sell the data or say they will store it in ways that mask the location. Some such as Tapestri, which pays consumers for sharing their anonymized location history, delete any health-related location information that they deem to be sensitive. Opponents of the court’s ruling and privacy advocates say personal reproductive health data could be publicized or used to build a legal case against people seeking or providing abortions. “These kinds of requests for user data are going to sharply increase,” said Jennifer Lynch, surveillance litigation director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital-rights advocacy group. A CEO of one location-data firm said the privacy advocates’ fears are overblown, in part because the data is often imprecise and could be challenged in court. Some industry executives and researchers say restricting the collection and use of the data might prohibit other uses, such as studying how people access healthcare. About a dozen states have enacted laws that ban many or most abortions, and several others are expected to pass similar measures. A few states, including Texas, have provided financial incentives for people to bring civil lawsuits against those suspected of aiding abortions. Thus far there have been few, if any, criminal or civil investigations since states’ abortion bans were enacted, in part because abortion providers in those states have generally ceased performing the procedure if there is any ambiguity about its legality…”

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