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“Facebook, Twitter or Google need to think about what kind of information they collect”

Since the Supreme Court of the United States reversed the Roe vs. Wade, who protected the right to abortion at the federal level, part of the eyes turn to the personal data processed by telephone operators and digital companies. They could, in the future, be used by justice in certain States to repress abortions.

For Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an organization for the defense of digital freedoms, tech giants must rethink the way they process data to protect their users.

Read also: Abortion: in the United States, the digital giants face the danger linked to personal data

What data are the most sensitive today and represent the greatest risk for people seeking an abortion in states that have banned or restricted abortion, or are preparing to do so?

The first thing to do is to look at the cases that already exist and in which women have been prosecuted following a termination of pregnancy. In these cases, they have generally not been prosecuted as a result of widespread surveillance or because of their research on the Internet, but because they have been reported by doctors, nurses, people in whom they had trust. The most important thing is therefore to be as careful as possible about what you communicate about your pregnancy or termination of pregnancy. [Au niveau technique] there are end-to-end encrypted messengers that also allow you to program messages that erase after a certain time, such as Signal or WhatsApp.

However, web searches on Google have also been used as evidence in the past. My recommendation is that if someone is doing research related to abortion, they use the Tor browser, which is designed specifically to hide your IP from the sites you visit.

You also have to anticipate what might happen in the future. I’ve spent the past fifteen years traveling the world, working with activists and journalists, and others on the front lines of security and privacy risks, and I know what the next steps are in this kind of repression. We could start to see states asking for geolocation data, health data, communications content. And they could use them to create a net to find people who travel to another state to have an abortion. [dans une clinique], or order medication to abort on their own. And here, it is important for companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google to think about the type of information they collect and the conditions under which they will release it to governments. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that if you collect data, the authorities will eventually ask you for it.

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