JTDL: Abortion criminalization & data privacy
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As you already know, the biggest news last week was the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion, which would end the federally recognized right to abortion. Presuming this draft reflects the court’s ultimate decision, we can expect abortion bans in half of the states, which will force resident women to make riskier decisions, jeopardizing their health. These restrictions, like all draconian policy in the US, will disproportionately hurt poor and minority communities. This rupture from precedent also implicates the issues that this newsletter is dedicated to covering.
When this opinion is published, the pain and misery that our data is capable of will be undeniable in the states that embrace the post-Roe era. The public prosecutions, the live-streamed harassment, and the online pleas for medical help will all paint a dire picture of a country steeped in surveillance that refuses to embrace consumer data protection and privacy.
In the states that ban abortion, prosecutors will receive new powers to criminally punish pregnant women who exercise control over their health and healthcare providers that provide support. At the same time, as restrictions increase and clinics close, women will be sent online to find information and services they can no longer access in-person, in their communities. The data created by this online activity will be weaponized by prosecutors looking to burnish their anti-choice bone fides. This is not something HIPAA will save us from, nor can we expect tech companies to stand in the way.
Overzealous prosecutors aren’t the only problem. This past week, a journalist spent $160 for location data on people who visited a Planned Parenthood and where they went next. While the data was “anonymized”, it’s been shown time and again how easy it is to deanonymize datasets and identify individual people. Driving home the threat this data creates, the same journalist was able to find free data showing where abortion clinic visitors live.
Meanwhile, a federal bill that would ban the purchase of location data by law enforcement looking to circumvent warrant requirements remains stalled in Congress. Even if that bill became law, it would not stop data-assisted harassment by anti-choice advocates, who are empowered by cash incentives to ruin the lives of those making a private medical decision.
The last time I wrote an essay like this was when federal agents were disappearing racial justice protesters off the streets of Portland. Then, like now, I hoped that the extremity of the news would shake us from our reverie, from the belief that our data can’t hurt us. However, each time we wind up here—in what should be the inflection point for data privacy and protection in the United States—we fail to act.
Now, as we enter a darker chapter, I’m left wondering if what we are about to witness will be enough to shock us to our senses. For everyone’s sake, I hope it is.
How to get an abortion in the age of surveillance. (Gizmodo)
A preview of how anti-abortion prosecutors will weaponize commonly-used digital devices as criminal evidence against pregnant people and abortion providers in a post-Roe America. (SSRN)
Online privacy becomes critical if Roe v. Wade is overturned. (Bloomberg)
Overturning Roe will weaponize women's data. (Gizmodo)
Tech companies face a legal nightmare if Roe v. Wade is overturned. (Protocol)
Tech companies are not ready for a post-Roe era. (Wired)
Period-tracking apps store users’ most private data and what that means in a post-Roe world. (Protocol)
A data broker is selling location data of people who visit abortion clinics. (Motherboard)
Location data firm provides heat maps of where abortion clinic visitors live for free. (Motherboard)
Understanding the chilling effects of digital surveillance. (Minnesota Law Review)
A footnote in a new US appeals court ruling could mean that law enforcement can order the preservation of someone’s data without probable cause. (US Courts)
Women’s March will take to the streets May 14. (WM)
RightsCon is June 6-10. (RC)
The Race to Regulate AI at the University of Oxford is June 30. (UOx)
Jobs & Opportunities
ACLU needs an associate software engineer. (ACLU)
Amnesty International Tech has multiple positions. (AIT) (h/t Damini Satija)
Access to Justice Tech Fellows opened summer placement positions for law students. (ATJ)
Bay Area Legal Services (Florida) needs a legal tech and digital project manager. (BALS)
Boundless has numerous openings. (B) (h/t Chase Hertel)
[New] Carnegie Melon University needs an ED for its tech and society center. (CMU)
[New] Center for Democracy and Technology has multiple open positions. (CDT) (h/t Alex Givens)
Center for Policing Equity needs a VP of tech and data (an engineer). (CPE)
Color of Change needs devs and PMs. (CoC) (h/t Archana Ahlawat)
The Criminal Justice Administrative Records System at the University of Michigan is looking for fellows. (CJARS)
Data & Society has numerous openings. (DS)
The Day One Project has numerous openings. (D1P)
The Electronic Frontier Foundation needs a director of institutional support. (EFF)
Endless Frontier Fellowship is looking for fellows. (EFF)
Finequity needs a founding engineer. (h/t Briane Cornish) (FE)
Georgetown’s Center for Privacy and Technology needs a senior associate. (GU) (h/t Samantha Simonsen)
The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law needs a sustainable finance specialist. (HiiL)
JustFix is hiring for multiple roles. (JF) (h/t Pinky Chan)
LawSites needs a part-time editorial assistant. (LS)
Measures for Justice has multiple positions open. (M4J)
MIT needs a postdoctoral associate focused on digital teaching simulations and AI coaching. (MIT)
The National Center for State Courts needs court consultants. (NCSC)
Paladin has multiple openings. (P) (h/t Felicity Conrad)
The Philly District Attorney's Office is looking to fill a number of roles, including for a dev. (PDAO)
The Policing Project has multiple openings. (PP) (h/t Kaylynn Lopez)
Stand Together Ventures Lab needs an investment analyst. (STVL)
Stanford Law School needs a justice innovation lead. (SLS) (h/t Andrew Wichmann)
Stanford RegLab needs a research director. (SRL) (h/t Christine Tsang)
Surveillance Technology Oversight Project has openings. (STOP) (h/t Eleni Manis)
TechCongress needs a program operations manager. (TC)
[New] Theory and Principle, a legal software development boutique, is hiring. (T&P)
Texas Indigent Defense Commission needs a data analyst. (TIDC)
The University of Helsinki Legal Tech Lab needs a doctoral researcher in automated systems and administrative legal frameworks. (UH)
Upsolve, the bankruptcy platform, is hiring for multiple roles. (US)
Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center needs a principle research associate. (UI) (h/t Emily Tiry)
[New] The US General Services Administration needs a tech lawyer. (GSA)
Vera has numerous openings for data scientist and IT roles. (Vera)