Press release: new report on data exploitation in reproductive healthcare

The organised opposition to sexual and reproductive rights has gone digital. Data exploitative tech is being developed that is capable of obtaining vast amounts of intimate information about people’s reproductive health, and delaying or curtailing access to reproductive healthcare.

Key points
  • New Privacy International report documents 10 data exploitative technologies and tactics being developed to delay or curtail access to reproductive healthcare globally
Press release
reproductive rights and privacy project image

PI's new report documents 10 tactics that are being developed and deployed to delay or curtail access to reproductive healthcare globally. Especially given the current crisis, as digital services become even more important, we hope this report will highlight how those opposed to reproductive rights are actively developing technical tools to delay or curtail access. A downloadable multi-media asset is attached.

Examples of tech being developed:

    • Developing digital dossiers about those seeking pregnancy options: the system appears to be able to collect information such as name, address, email address, ethnicity, marital status, living arrangement, education, income source, alcohol, cigarette, and drug intake, medications and medical history, sexual transmitted disease history, name of the referring person/organisation, pregnancy symptoms, pregnancy history, medical testing information, and eventually even ultrasound photos [details page 14]
    • Deploying online chat services, including one that appears to share intimate information about people seeking pregnancy support with a major anti-contraception, anti-abortion organisation based in the US [details page 18]
    • Integrating with government operations, including providing “options counselling” to young pregnant migrants in the US [details page 33]
    • Developing websites for crisis pregnancy centres that require the centres to use guarded anti-abortion language on “medical pages” including about abortion and pregnancy [details page 39]
    • Deploying targeted ads on social media that promote scientifically dubious health information [details page 58]

     

    Sara Nelson, Head of PI's Reproductive Rights and Privacy Project said:

    "The organised opposition to sexual and reproductive rights has gone digital. Data exploitative tech is being developed that is capable of obtaining vast amounts of intimate information about people's reproductive health, and delaying or curtailing access to reproductive healthcare.

    Technology provides incredible opportunities to democratise access to reproductive health information, services, and care. It can play a vital role in protecting the lives of those needing sexual and reproductive health information and care, especially in places where access is otherwise impossible.

    Simultaneously, those standing in opposition to reproductive rights are developing and promoting digital tools and tactics that attempt to curtail the ability of people to exercise their reproductive rights.

    The exploitation of data by the opposition movement is just beginning. As this report shows, the utility of data to rapidly and precisely target content online, to uncover a person's location, to understand people's mindsets and lifestyles, is not unknown to those fighting against reproductive rights. Privacy experts and reproductive rights organisations globally must work together to expose and advocate against such data exploitation."

     

    About Privacy International

    Privacy International (PI) is a registered charity that works at the intersection of modern technologies and rights. PI is based in London and works internationally.

    We shine a light on overreaching state and corporate surveillance, with a focus on the sophisticated technologies and weak laws that enable serious incursions into privacy. We investigate, litigate, advocate, and educate, all with one aim - for people everywhere to have greater security and freedom through greater personal privacy.

    We work with experts all over the world to build the global privacy movement.