Lawmakers are asking Google to stop location tracking

Over 40 Democratic congressmen signed a letter to Google urging the tech giant to stop collecting location data from its users, arguing that the data could be used to identify and potentially punish women who seek abortions.

In the letter, sent Tuesday to Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai, lawmakers expressed concerns about the company’s collection of location data.

“When abortion is ruled illegal by the far-right Supreme Court and Republican lawmakers, it is inevitable that right-wing prosecutors will receive statutory warrants to hunt down, prosecute and jail women for critical reproductive health care,” the letter reads . “The only way to protect your customers’ location data from such outrageous government surveillance is to not keep it in the first place.”

When the Supreme Court overturns the landmark Roe v. calf The decision — a leaked statement earlier this month suggested — could see pregnancies monitored by law enforcement and data collected from right-wing vigilante groups.

Lawmakers say right-wing activists and prosecutors could use “geofence” warrants to obtain data on women seeking abortions or reproductive health care. A geofence warrant is issued by a court and allows law enforcement to search a database to find all active mobile devices in a given area. In 2020 alone, Google received 11,554 orders for geofences, up from 8,396 in 2019 and 982 in 2018.

“When abortion becomes illegal, it is inevitable that prosecutors will use geofence orders and Google’s location data to hunt down, prosecute and jail people for receiving essential abortion treatment,” Fight For the Future said , a digital advocacy group, in a statement. “The only way to protect Americans’ location data from such outrageous government surveillance is for Google not to store it in the first place.”

Alphabet did not respond to a request for comment.


Read more about the Daily Dot’s technical and political coverage


Read more about the Daily Dot’s technical and political coverage

*Initial publication: May 24, 2022 5:08 pm CDT

Jacob Seitz

Jacob Seitz is a freelance journalist originally from Columbus, Ohio, interested in the intersection of culture and politics.

Jacob Seitz

https://www.dailydot.com/debug/democratic-lawmakers-urge-google-location-data/ Lawmakers are asking Google to stop location tracking

Jaclyn Diaz

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