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Congress probes interval monitoring apps and knowledge brokers over abortion privateness considerations – TechCrunch

The U.S. Home Oversight Committee is probing a set of interval monitoring apps and knowledge brokers in gentle of rising considerations about how non-public well being knowledge is perhaps weaponized within the dawning post-Roe v. Wade period.

The committee issued letters in the present day to knowledge brokers SafeGraph, Babel Road, Digital Envoy, and Gravy Analytics and app makers Flo Well being, Glow, GP Worldwide, Clue developer BioWink and Digitalchemy Ventures.

Within the letters, the representatives requested data on the businesses’ knowledge assortment and retention insurance policies “together with paperwork and communications in regards to the precise or potential manufacturing of such knowledge to exterior entities voluntarily or topic to authorized obligation, resembling a subpoena.” The lawmakers additionally requested for data explaining every firm’s knowledge sharing practices and the way a lot income and revenue these corporations have made off that knowledge going again 5 years.

“The gathering of delicate knowledge might pose severe threats to these in search of reproductive care in addition to to suppliers of such care, not solely by facilitating intrusive authorities surveillance, but in addition by placing folks liable to harassment, intimidation, and even violence,” the committee wrote.

“Geographic knowledge collected by cell phones could also be used to find folks in search of care at clinics, and search and chat historical past referring to clinics or remedy create digital bread crumbs revealing curiosity in an abortion.”

The probe is spearheaded by Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Subcommittee on Financial and Client Coverage Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi and Rep. Sara Jacobs. The lawmakers have set a July 22 deadline for the businesses to adjust to the requests.

With Roe repealed and abortion now not a protected federal proper within the U.S., privateness advocates, lawmakers and customers alike have raised considerations that location and health-tracking knowledge could also be turned towards folks in search of abortions within the U.S.

Each sorts of knowledge paint a really personalised image of a person’s habits. Well being and period-focused apps can monitor missed intervals and fertility cycles, whereas person location knowledge purchased and offered by shadowy knowledge corporations can present exact location data that would implicate anybody who visits an abortion supplier.

The White Home talked about its personal considerations about digital surveillance and firms that gather or promote “delicate health-related knowledge” Friday in a new government order targeted on defending entry to abortion.

Final week Google introduced that it will erase location monitoring knowledge for “significantly private” locations, together with abortion and fertility facilities. In Might, Congressional Democrats wrote a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai urging the corporate to increase new privateness measures in gentle of the looming reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Shoppers are additionally taking issues into their very own palms, swapping their present interval trackers for different apps that they understand to be safer, although in some circumstances they is perhaps leaping out of the frying pan and into the hearth.



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