Investigation Safegraph Planned
Joseph Cox / VICE:
Investigation: for ~$160, information dealer SafeGraph will promote per week’s price of knowledge on guests of 600+ Deliberate Parenthood places and the place they went afterwards
— It prices simply over $160 to get per week’s price of knowledge on the place individuals who visited Deliberate Parenthood got here from, and the place they went afterward.
Obtaining information on where persons who visited Planned Parenthood originally came from and where they went afterward costs little over $160 for a week’s worth of data.
According to sets of the data purchased by Motherboard, a location data company is selling information related to visits to clinics that perform abortions, including Planned Parenthood facilities, showing where groups of people visiting the locations came from, how long they stayed there, and where they went after.
The sale of data is unquestionably more significant in light of a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion in which Justice Alito stated that the court is prepared to overturn the decades-old precedent in Roe v. Wade, which has granted federal protections to people seeking abortions.
If that proposal is ultimately adopted, abortion rights would be outlawed entirely or in part in at least 13 states.
After the draft, there will probably be increased interest in how data collection relates to abortion rights or lack thereof.
In addition, there may be a rise in vigilante behavior, monitoring, and other forms of harassment against people who obtain or provide abortions in the nation.
Customers might include pro-life vigilantes if this aggregated location data is made publicly available to all.
Those who oppose abortion are already very skilled at utilizing cutting-edge technology to their advantage.
In 2016, a CEO of advertising who worked with Christian and anti-abortion organizations sent tailored ads to women waiting in Planned Parenthood clinics in an effort to
The sale of the location data raises concerns about why businesses are selling information about abortion clinics in particular and if they ought to add extra protections to the purchase of that data, if they should be selling it at all.
Zach Edwards, a cybersecurity researcher who closely monitors the data selling marketplace, told Motherboard in an online chat after reviewing the data that it is “bonkers dangerous” to have abortion clinics and then allow someone to buy the census data that shows where people are traveling from to visit those abortion clinics.
This is how you dox individuals who go over state lines to get abortions, as well as how you dox facilities that offer this service.
People who need abortions have increasingly had to go to other states where access to abortion is simpler since Texas enacted a nearly total ban on the procedure. People who can afford to travel for abortions and who live in conservative states are likely to do so once Roe is overturned.
Regulations and legislation should take into account how location data is gathered, used, and sold because it may affect if and how that travel is detected.
SafeGraph is the business that is selling the data. In the end, SafeGraph gets its location information from regular apps users have on their phones.
Software development kits (SDKs), which are installed into apps by developers, frequently send users’ location data to businesses in exchange for payment.
In addition to some of the more risky use cases that Motherboard has reported on, such as providing data to U.S. military contractors, there are occasions when app users are unaware that their phone—whether it be via a weather app or a prayer app—is gathering and sharing location data with third parties. The institution collecting the data is not Planned Parenthood, nor does it profit from it.
After that, SafeGraph repackages that location data along with other data into different products. The CDC purchased $420,000 worth of SafeGraph data on Tuesday, according to a Motherboard story, for a variety of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 use cases. In June, Google removed SafeGraph from the Google Play Store.
More than 600 Planned Parenthood sites can be found in the United States, according to the data Motherboard acquired. SafeGraph classifies “Planned Parenthood” as a “brand” that can be followed.
For those locations in mid-April, the data included a week’s worth of location information. The location data product from SafeGraph is known as “Patterns.” The data cost just over $160 in total.
Abortion services are not available at all Planned Parenthood facilities. However, Motherboard confirmed that a few of the facilities in the purchased dataset do.
Investigation Safegraph Planned