A group of over 40 Democrats sent a letter to Google requesting the company cease collecting and storing location data out of concern that it could be obtained by prosecutors to target individuals seeking abortions.
The Hill reports:
“We believe that abortion is health care. We will fight tooth and nail to ensure that it remains recognized as a fundamental right, and that all people in the United States have control over their own bodies,” the members, led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), wrote.
“That said, we are concerned that, in a world in which abortion could be made illegal, Google’s current practice of collecting and retaining extensive records of cell phone location data will allow it to become a tool for far-right extremists looking to crack down on people seeking reproductive health care,” they continued.
A leaked Supreme Court draft indicated it is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. The leak has amplified concerns that location data could be used against women seeking abortions if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe. However
The letter to Pichai brings up the use of geofence warrants, a technique where law enforcement agencies request tech companies to turn over all data on devices that have passed through a certain area during a certain period.
Geofence warrants, also known as reverse-location warrants, have been issued to track Black Lives Matter protesters and to investigate robberies. Google received over 10,000 geofence warrants in 2020, the letter notes.
Democrats have claimed that if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade it would result in a nationwide abortion ban, however, it would actually punt the issue back to the states.