CONSUMER ALERT: Attorney General James Provides Guidance to Protect the Digital Privacy of People Seeking Abortion CareMay 14, 2022
AG James Offers Tips to Limit Unwanted Sharing of Personal Information
Tracked by Some Social Media Platforms and Everyday Apps
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today offered guidance to protect the privacy of individuals seeking abortion care and prevent unwanted digital tracking and data sharing. Recent reports indicate that online platforms and consumer apps, like those widely used to track fertility and menstrual cycles, have been collecting and sharing consumers’ personal information. These websites and apps can track detailed reproductive history, physical location, and other personal information, and that data can be unknowingly shared with third parties. This information may then be used against individuals seeking abortion care or those who help them without their awareness. With abortion access in greater jeopardy than ever before, it is important that New Yorkers and other consumers are mindful of how their information is being used and shared.
“People use fertility tracking apps and location services every day, but if they’re not careful their personal information can end up in the wrong hands,” said Attorney General James. “With abortion rights in jeopardy, it’s more important than ever that everyone take their digital privacy seriously. I urge everyone, especially those visiting abortion clinics or seeking abortion care, to follow the tips offered by my office and be more careful of the apps and websites they use. Safe, accessible abortion care is the future that we are fighting for and I am committed to protecting every woman’s reproductive freedom.”
“It is critical that the privacy of those seeking abortion services is protected, given the threats of legal action against both patients and providers from other states,” said State Senator Liz Krueger. “I am working with Attorney General James and my colleagues on legislation to enhance privacy protections, and commend the attorney general for taking this proactive step and providing patients with valuable information about how to better secure their personal information.”
Attorney General James recommends individuals seeking abortion care take the following steps to protect their digital privacy:
- Use a VPN and Private Web Browser: When you visit websites, information, like your location and the websites you’ve visited, is shared with the website and your internet service provider. To limit this data sharing, you can download and use tools like a private browser, which can block website trackers, and a virtual private network (VPN) on your devices. A VPN masks your IP address so that websites and internet service providers cannot track your location, and many are available for free. You should also use a private search engine, which will not save your search history, when searching for information related to abortion care.
- Send Messages via End-to-End Encrypted Platforms: When messaging someone about abortion care, use a…