House lawmakers are investigating how some tech companies will handle health data related to abortions

They are in search of facts from 5 knowledge broker businesses and five wellbeing-monitoring app companies about their collection, retention and sale of private wellness details, according to letters sent Thursday night time by Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Raja Krishnamoorthi, chair and member of the Residence Oversight Committee, alongside with Rep. Sara Jacobs. The businesses have until July 21 to respond, for every the letters, which were considered by CNN Enterprise.

The shift comes amid expanding concerns that individual knowledge, this sort of as spot heritage, health heritage, messages and lookups, could be used by regulation enforcement in some states to criminalize individuals trying to find or furnishing abortions, immediately after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.
Quite a few tech providers have hence much declined to say how they prepare to react to this sort of requests from law enforcement. And on the web privacy industry experts have identified facts brokers — which collect shopper info from many online resources and license it to third get-togethers, typically advertisers — as a notably vulnerable spot mainly because regulation enforcement could likely acquire consumer info fairly than having to situation a official legal request.

The firms contacted by lawmakers include things like info broker companies SafeGraph, Electronic Envoy, Pacer.ai, Gravy Analytics and Babel Avenue, as perfectly as health-tracker application operators Flo Wellbeing, Glow, BioWink, GP Intercontinental and Digitalchemy Ventures. In recent weeks, some interval and fertility monitoring apps, which includes Flo, have declared an “nameless” method that they say will help protect consumers.

In the letters, the lawmakers asked data brokers, for case in point, for information associated to their revenues from the sale of spot details and a list of purchasers of details linked to loved ones setting up clinics or abortion solutions. They also requested the wellness-tracking apps for “paperwork and communications regarding the real or prospective manufacturing” of private reproductive or sexual well being facts, either voluntarily or in response to a legal ask for, as well as communications about such facts with point out and local governments.

“The selection of sensitive data could pose major threats to these looking for reproductive treatment as properly as to suppliers of this sort of treatment, not only by facilitating intrusive government surveillance, but also by putting men and women at risk of harassment, intimidation, and even violence,” the lawmakers wrote.

Congress has been taking into consideration new legislation to shield American’s private health and fitness facts in the wake of the Supreme Courtroom ruling, and a team of senators past thirty day period launched a invoice that would ban information brokers from advertising wellness and place details. “As Congress considers legislative reforms to make certain the privacy of own reproductive and sexual well being facts, we are analyzing the tactics of information brokers and other companies concerning the collection, dissemination, and sale of this personal info,” Maloney, Krishnamoorthi and Jacobs mentioned in their Thursday letters.

Maria Flores

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