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Wed May 4, 2022, 02:22 AM

Data Broker Is Selling Location Data of People Who Visit Abortion Clinics [View all]

A location data firm is selling information related to visits to clinics that provide abortions including Planned Parenthood facilities, showing where groups of people visiting the locations came from, how long they stayed there, and where they then went afterwards, according to sets of the data purchased by Motherboard.

(snip)
The country may also see an increase in vigilante activity or forms of surveillance and harassment against those seeking or providing abortions. With this aggregated location data available to anyone on the open market, customers could include anti-abortion vigilantes as well. Anti-abortion groups are already fairly adept at using novel technology for their goals. In 2016, an advertising CEO who worked with anti-abortion and Christian groups sent targeted advertisements to women sitting in Planned Parenthood clinics in an attempt to change their decision around getting an abortion. The sale of the location data raises questions around why companies are selling data based on abortion clinics specifically, and whether they should introduce more safeguards around the purchase of that information, if be selling it at all.

“It's bonkers dangerous to have abortion clinics and then let someone buy the census tracks where people are coming from to visit that abortion clinic,” Zach Edwards, a cybersecurity researcher who closely tracks the data selling marketplace, told Motherboard in an online chat after reviewing the data. “This is how you dox someone traveling across state lines for abortions—how you dox clinics providing this service."
(Snip)

The company selling the data is SafeGraph. SafeGraph ultimately obtains location data from ordinary apps installed on peoples’ phones. Often app developers install code, called software development kits (SDKs), into their apps that sends users’ location data to companies in exchange for the developer receiving payment. Sometimes app users don’t know that their phone—be that via a prayer app, or a weather app—is collecting and sending location data to third parties, let alone some of the more dangerous use cases that Motherboard has reported on, including transferring data to U.S. military contractors. Planned Parenthood is not the organization performing the data collection nor benefiting from it financially.
https://www.vice.com/en/article/m7vzjb/location-data-abortion-clinics-safegraph-planned-parenthood

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Reply Data Broker Is Selling Location Data of People Who Visit Abortion Clinics [View all]
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