The constitutional right to safe, legal abortion has evaporated following the recent Supreme Court decision. Some states with so-called “trigger bans” have immediately criminalized abortion. Next, Congress may seek to criminalize abortion in all 50 states, putting the government in control of peoples’ bodies.
Google is fully complicit in the criminalization of people seeking abortion care. That’s because Google stores historical location data about hundreds of millions of smartphone users, which it routinely shares with government agencies through “geofence” orders that unmask the identities of anyone who traveled to a specific place at a specific time—like an abortion clinic on a specific day. Google received 11,554 such geofence warrants in 2020.
In our post-Roe environment, prosecutors will use geofence orders and Google’s location data to hunt down, prosecute and jail people for obtaining critical abortion care. The only way to protect Americans’ location data from such outrageous government surveillance is for Google not to keep it in the first place.