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Roe v. Wade and tech: 'The problem' is that too many companies are collecting data

·Senior Reporter
·2-min read

Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, tech companies have found themselves in a tough spot as data privacy becomes a hot topic.

And the magnitude of the problem is compounded by the sheer number of companies collecting data, Caitlin Chin, fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), told Yahoo Finance Live (video above).

"I think the problem is that there are just so many different entities that collect data now," Chin said. "Our society is built around the Internet. People often get their information from the Internet, but it's not just big companies like Google or Facebook that collect data and can potentially share that data with the government."

People march to the U.S. consulate in a protest after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Dobbs v Women's Health Organization abortion case, overturning the landmark Roe v Wade abortion decision, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada June 29, 2022. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
People march to the U.S. consulate in a protest after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Dobbs v Women's Health Organization abortion case, overturning the landmark Roe v Wade abortion decision, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada June 29, 2022. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Where tech giants fall on the issue of abortion has become complicated.

In the immediate aftermath of the decision, many companies, including Netflix (NFLX), revealed that they would cover expenses for workers who need to travel to obtain an abortion.

However, tech giants hold massive amounts of user data that can, among other things, reveal if someone has been seeking or has had an abortion.

At the same time, the legal landscape has and will continue to grow more fragmented.

"All fifty states are considering how they individually will deal with the outcome and implications of this decision," Chin said. "There are some states that are indicating interest in pursuing new abortion restrictions and passing new legislation and others that are saying that our state will be a safe haven for anybody who chooses to get an abortion."

Chin noted that for tech companies, how and where the Dobbs decision intersects with data privacy is critical. In many instances, companies can and may reject the requests from law enforcement and prosecutors as too broad. In other cases, they may comply.

"This decision really has put businesses in a difficult position," she said. "Every year, law enforcement agencies issue thousands of legal requests for data to private companies, including at the state and local levels. Now, companies need to consider how they're going to comply with legal requests. Also, for companies that do have voluntary contracts to share data with government agencies, they'll have to decide whether to continue to do so."

Allie Garfinkle is a senior tech reporter at Yahoo Finance. Find her on twitter @agarfinks.

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