Google and Facebook help police fight abortion in the United States

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Internal media reveal that Google and Facebook are sharing the personal data of their users to help law enforcement in the United States against women’s right to abortion.

A police car // Source: Michael Förtsch on Unsplash

In 2022, the United States Supreme Court dealt a fatal blow to women’s abortion rights. Several American states have taken the opportunity to prohibit the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy.

The importance of sharing private data

The media Well-informed person reveals that law enforcement agencies use online platforms to investigate and prosecute women, or menstruating people, seeking to terminate their pregnancies.

He cites the case of a case in which Meta, Facebook’s parent company, turned over key evidence to authorities: the Facebook Messenger chat history where a mother and her daughter discussed how to terminate their daughter’s pregnancy.

Obviously, there is nothing illegal here for Meta, which only submits to the jurisdiction of the country where the firm operates. This is how a representative of the firm explained it to the US media.

We comply with government requests for user information only when we believe in good faith that the law requires us to do so.

In other words, we evaluate if a claim is in accordance with internationally recognized norms in the matter of droits de l’homme, notably in what concerns the respect of legality, private life, freedom of expression and de l’État of Law. When we fulfill a request, we only produce information that is closely tailored to that request. If we think a request seems insufficient or too broad, we reject it and fight in court, if necessary. We do not provide governments with “back doors” to access people’s information.

However, this highlights the danger of people sharing their personal data on the platforms.

Google tracking also plays tricks

Insider cites another example, this time involving online pharmacies selling abortion-related treatments. These sites use cookies and other tracking tools, some of which are linked to Google. All of this allows the giant to recover search, location, or other sensitive information. Data that Google can then share with authorities upon request.

In 2022, Google announced a series of measures in its services to protect its users on this issue. These measures do not seem sufficient when it comes to connections with third-party sites.

Services that guarantee privacy

These cases once again raise the idea of ​​moving away from large online platforms in favor of services that better guarantee the confidentiality of private data. the adage ” we have nothing to hide if we have nothing to be ashamed of it can take a hit quickly depending on the evolution of governments and legislation.

With the encryption methods used by services like Signal, Telegram, Protonmail, it is possible to maintain control over what we share and how we share it.

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