Motherboard did the legwork of asking the big-time tech companies what they intended to do about future law enforcement demands that they turn over data pertaining to Americans accused of seeking abortion care or helping somebody else seek abortion care, now that abortion has been criminalized in multiple states and will soon be criminalized in many others. The Supreme Court says states may now imprison both Americans seeking abortions and the people who "abet" such medical care, so here we are. Your social media accounts, your search history, and your private messages are about to become the evidence that red-state prosecutors will use to convict you.
Had a miscarriage? Prosecutors may demand to see your data to probe whether you expressed joy over your pregnancy or alarm, and if they find evidence you didn't want to be pregnant, may further examine your data history for signs you might have engaged in "unsafe" behavior that could have played a role in that pregnancy’s end. Went on vacation across state lines while pregnant and returned not pregnant? You'd better get a lawyer.
For example, maybe you went on a trip to Florida (a state infamously hostile to mask-wearing during a pandemic), caught COVID-19, and it resulted in a miscarriage. Will Texas prosecute you on your return for not wearing a mask while pregnant? Maybe! F--k if we know! It's a state run by an indicted criminal and a bunch of circus clowns who think mass shootings are caused by the wrong kind of doors; who the hell knows what post-Roe hellscape your local prosecutor will construct in an effort to boost their own political aspirations? You might also be prosecuted for wearing a mask while pregnant, with a prosecutor insisting you're tying to smother your fetus to death. Nobody knows. When you've put witch burning back on the table, as Supreme Court Justice Samue;l Alito did, you're inviting prosecutors to hunt for witches.
Back to the question at hand. Motherboard asked all the famous tech companies you've heard of and have an online relationship with to clarify whether they'd cooperate with state law enforcement efforts to turn over data pertaining to suspected abortions. Not a damn one of them responded with an actual, non-evasive answer.
This silence is the tech company’s way of saying the obvious: They're going to comply. They don't want to say it out loud because it will further wreck their relationship with you, their product, but if states come to Google, Facebook, Snapchat, AT&T, Verizon, CashApp, Uber, or Lyft with a warrant saying they're investigating a state crime so hand over the data, the choices are to comply immediately, respond with a very expensive lawsuit that will almost certainly end with them turning over the data because the nation is currently ruled by a fascist Supreme Court majority that will insist on it, or refuse, thus spurring state prosecutors to claim that the tech company is itself breaking the law, which ends in states like Texas barring Google or Facebook from operating in Texas if they don't turn over the goods.
(None of this applies to AT&T, to be clear. AT&T would sell you for parts if they could. For 10 dollars AT&T executives would drive anti-abortion zealots to your house so that they could film your arrest while eating delivery pizza on your lawn.)
There is no immediate good solution here. Motherboard points to an Electronic Frontier Foundation statement begging internet giants to better secure and encrypt their customers' data or at the very least stop with the malevolent behavioral tracking that, uh, forms the very basis for our online advertising hellscape, but the companies are going to do few to none of those things unless consumers start ditching platforms and/or taking steps to anonymize their own data.
What you need to know, if you live in a state in which abortion is now criminalized or are even visiting one, is that everything you do on your phone may be accessible by prosecutors looking for evidence you may have had an abortion or helped someone else have one. Use a private window always. Do not use health tracking apps—delete them! If your pregnancy is unplanned you need to consider whether or not it's safe to say so to your online friends. Be very, very cautious when searching for medical care or pregnancy testing, because a large number of so-called pregnancy crisis centers are fraudulent operations that do not provide medical services but instead share whatever information you give them with anti-abortion activist groups.
For some specific advice on how to hide your data, read this, this, and this.
Be paranoid, because the people who have successfully criminalized abortion care have been given free rein to make you their target. Bounty hunters will be looking for their bounties. "Crisis" centers will be looking for evidence they can use to turn you in. And you don't have to be pregnant for them to start tracking you.
And understand this: The tech companies—that is, companies made of capitalism and institutionalized social indifference—aren't going to be on your side.
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