Just a week following the overturn of the landmark ruling of Roe v. Wade, America has become somewhat of a legislative free for all when it comes to women’s reproductive rights. With individual states now having the authority to dictate whether or not to ban abortion, many are scrambling to find ways to ensure individuals have access to the care they need, and are struggling for privacy and protection. However, according to comedian and The Daily Show host Trevor Noah, privacy might be long gone as Twitter users encourage others to delete their period tracker apps. On a recent episode, Noah lamented the thought of it.
“What a shit world for women we’re living in,” he expressed.
Experts have recently raised concerns that data from apps like Flo and Clue could be leaking data that would identify users that could potentially soon be seeking abortions. While the HIPAA statute protects patient information, it does not extend to search data. In fact, search history and mobile data has been used to prosecute women in cases where offering or receiving the service has been illegal.
“That’s right, if prosecutors are aggressive enough, they could use your apps, or your search history on your phone to prove you’ve had an abortion,” said Noah. In an attempt to offer the situation a little humor he added:
“...It’s a very unhealthy practice in a relationship. You don’t search through anyone’s phone, ok. It destroys trust. Don’t do it.”
He also joked about the options now left for anyone searching for answers or resources related to abortion treatment if they are afraid to look online.
“How you gonna search for abortion pills without Google? What are you just gonna have to write a question on a piece of paper, and throw it out the window and hope for the best?” he quipped.
While most of the focus has been placed on the period tracking apps, according to The New York Times, simply deleting these apps will not protect you. …”period trackers seem like an obvious source of information about reproductive health decisions, experts say other digital information is more likely to put women at risk,” the publication reports.
“We should start with the types of data that have already been used to criminalize people,” Cynthia Conti-Cook, a civil rights lawyer in New York told The Times. “The text to your sister that says, ‘Expletive, I’m pregnant.’ The search history for abortion pills or the visitation of websites that have information about abortion.”
“Those text messages, those websites visited, those Google searches are the exact type of intent evidence that prosecutors want to fill their bag of evidence,” Conti-Cook continued.
Needless to say, women around the country are fed up with having to watch their backs physically, and now digitally.
“That’s where we are in America, right now,” Noah concluded. “Women taking care of their own health have to cover their tracks online like they’re planning a heist.”