Hidden ways cops can access data to prosecute widespread abortions in the US

Hidden ways cops can access data to prosecute widespread abortions in the US

It’s not yet clear what role tech companies will play in helping police access data to prosecute abortions at some point in the future.ru America, but it has already become clear that law enforcement is ready to cover up when searching for data.

Police revealed a possible tactic that could be used back in June, when Meta faced scrutiny from reproductive rights activists for complying with a police search warrant request in Madison County, Nebraska. Nebraska cops tell Meta that they are investigating a crime under “Prohibited Business with Skeletal Remains.”

But what they were actually investigating was a case involving a woman, Jessica Burgess, who they suspected of helping her 17-year-old daughter, Celeste Burgess, have an abortion illegal in the state at 23 weeks. The mother and daughter had previously reported to the police that Celeste had miscarried, But – in part because of the data provided by Meta – the mother is now being prosecuted for illegally aiding her daughter in an abortion. Celeste is being tried as an adult for other crimes.

Meta seemed shocked at the criticism of his decision to comply with these Nebraska warrants. At the time, a spokesperson told Meta Ars that “there was nothing in the valid arrest warrants we received from local law enforcement in early June, prior to the Supreme Court’s decision” to overturn Roe v. Wade Male abortion.

Some of the harshest meta critics have not agreed with the meta interpretation. Civil rights attorney Cynthia Conte Cooke and Digital Defense Fund (DDF) director Kate Bertach, both experts tracking digital surveillance of abortion, Books in the Los Angeles Times Meta could have detected the real intentions of the investigation if the company followed its own policies and reviewed the data before sharing it with law enforcement.

Facebook had the option there, as the opening suggested rely on its policy “Conduct a thorough review of each law enforcement request for disclosure of user data for compliance with international human rights standards.” Because of The United Nations protects access to abortion These experts alleged that, under international human rights law, Facebook might have fought a Nebraska police arrest warrant, but it did not.

However, the opinion piece did not specify what legal basis a US-based company like Facebook could have to defend itself in a US court in support of its own policies adhering to international human rights laws when those policies appear to conflict with the US. Laws. In their editorial, the experts pointed out Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Womena 50-year-old agreement that includes the right to access abortion – which the United States famously signed but never ratified, The United Nations recently noticed.

DDF does not respond to any press requests, and Conte Cook told Ars that “Facebook should be the one to explain whether and how they apply their policies on consideration of international human rights standards to legal requests, as their website promises their users, or what If these promises are meaningless and do not apply equally in the United States.” Meta has not responded to multiple requests to clarify whether its policy means that it will only oppose law enforcement requests that violate international human rights standards that are consistent with US laws.

Attorneys representing Celeste and Jessica Burgess did not respond to Ars’ requests for comment. For many who follow their story, the takeover of mother-daughter data has become a prime example How Big Tech can help law enforcement investigate abortions. Because of the digital monitoring, experts say the miscarriage is at a later stageru America can be prosecuted at levels unprecedented in US history because without digital surveillance, abortion has historically been much more difficult for police to track.

But just because big tech companies collect the most information on Americans doesn’t mean Facebook or Google will inevitably be the primary driving force for abortion-related arrests. As restrictions on access to abortion increase across the country — and new legal gray areas emerge as other states pass laws trying to protect access — courts will have to decide which laws stand against others and which evidence is compelling. It is possible that there are other types of technology not yet widely known that could be more useful to police in monitoring abortions and winning convictions. Daley Barnett, a staff technologist and privacy advocate at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) that tracks abortion-related privacy concerns, told Ars that even earlier. Roe v. Wade Flipped, it’s already been an “ongoing battle” for privacy experts struggling to keep up with “what law enforcement abuses new surveillance technologies have.”

The EFF recently revealed one example of new surveillance technology that is giving cops access to data no one else knew about. subscriber An investigation from EFF and the News agency Brought to light a program called Police Fog detectionwhich the EFF described as a potentially illegal tool that police were trying to hide.

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