Senators Introduce Bill To Protect Reproductive Health Data: ‘My Body, My Data’


Anti-abortion governments and personal entities are already utilizing cutting-edge digital applied sciences to surveil ladies’s search historical past, location information, messages, on-line purchases and social media actions. (Ivan Radic / Flickr)

The digital surveillance threats to ladies’s reproductive well being data are prone to escalate dramatically if the Supreme Court docket repeals abortion rights within the coming days and states criminalize abortion. In response, U.S. Senators Mazie Ok. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Consultant Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) launched the My Body, My Data Acta federal legislation defending private reproductive well being information by minimizing the knowledge that firms can accumulate and retain, for instance by period tracking apps. The invoice would stop organizations from disclosing or misusing that data and create a brand new nationwide normal to guard reproductive well being information, enforced by the Federal Commerce Fee.

“Excessive Republicans throughout the nation aren’t solely attempting to remove ladies’s constitutional rights, they wish to truly put folks in jail for offering or searching for reproductive care,” mentioned Hirono. “This laws will take steps to guard ladies’s privateness and make sure that people can’t accumulate information from web sites or apps and use it towards them.” 

New York-based privateness group Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.) launched a chilling report final month explaining how anti-abortion governments and personal entities are already utilizing cutting-edge digital applied sciences to surveil ladies’s search historical past, location information, messages, on-line purchases and social media actions through the use of geofencing, key phrase warrants, large information and extra. Trendy surveillance instruments will assist states to implement legal abortion bans on a scale that was technically inconceivable earlier than Roe, posing an unprecedented risk to pregnant ladies and people serving to them entry care.

“Because it stands, anti-abortion activists already surveil pregnant folks to intimidate them out of exercising their authorized reproductive rights. Police and prosecutors already surveil pregnant folks digitally to pursue circumstances towards them,” mentioned S.T.O.P.’s analysis director Eleni Manis. “If the Supreme Court docket overturns Roe, we anticipate a large escalation of surveillance concentrating on pregnant folks, their reproductive healthcare suppliers and anybody serving to pregnant folks entry care, together with look after miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies.”

The S.T.O.P. report explains how police can use digital key phrase warrants to “forged digital dragnets” and establish folks searching for abortion data on-line. They’ll additionally buy information from commercial data brokers—which they will do with none courtroom oversight—and leverage commercial databases that use large information and machine studying to predictively establish pregnant ladies. Utilizing these applied sciences, police can observe anybody who travels out of state for abortion healthcare and prosecute them upon their return.

Anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers” already use sophisticated digital strategies to gather and share details about folks visiting their facilities or web sites.

Presently, few protections exist to stop private reproductive well being information, or details about folks searching for reproductive well being companies, from being collected, retained or disclosed to 3rd events. The My Physique, My Knowledge Act would change that by:

  • limiting assortment of private reproductive and sexual well being information that may be collected, retained, used or disclosed to solely what is required to ship a services or products;
  • defending private information collected by entities not presently coated below HIPAA, together with information collected by apps, cell telephones and serps;
  • requiring regulated entities to develop and share a privateness coverage outlining how they accumulate, retain, use and disclose private reproductive well being data;
  • creating a non-public proper of motion to permit people to carry regulated entities accountable for violations;
  • offering further client protections, together with the precise to entry or delete private information; and
  • permitting states to offer additional safety for reproductive and sexual well being privateness.

The invoice is supported by a variety of advocacy organizations, together with Deliberate Parenthood Federation of America, NARAL Professional-Selection America, Digital Frontier Basis (EFF), Nationwide Partnership for Girls & Households, the Nationwide Abortion Federation, Unite for Reproductive & Gender Fairness, and Feminist Majority.

“Privateness fears ought to by no means stand in the best way of healthcare,” said EFF’s senior legislative activist Hayley Tsukayama and EFF’s director of federal affairs India McKinney. “That’s why this common sense invoice would require companies and non-governmental organizations to behave responsibly with private data regarding reproductive healthcare.”

Sign and share Ms.’s relaunched “We Have Had Abortions” petition—whether or not you your self have had an abortion, or just stand in solidarity with those that have—to let the Supreme Court docket, Congress and the White Home know: We is not going to quit the precise to secure, authorized, accessible abortion.

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