Data broker SafeGraph stops selling abortion-provider information

Data broker SafeGraph stops selling abortion-provider information

Other folks protest after the leak of a draft majority opinion written through Justice Samuel Alito, getting ready for a majority of the court docket to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights resolution later this 12 months, in New York Town, U.S., Might 3, 2022. 

Yana Paskova | Reuters

The net data-location dealer SafeGraph mentioned it has stopped promoting data on visits to abortion clinics after a record from Vice printed how simply the information may well be bought, elevating considerations that “anti-abortion vigilantes” may use it to focus on suppliers and their shoppers.

Vice reported Tuesday that it bought every week’s value of location records for greater than 600 Deliberate Parenthood places throughout america for simply over $160 from SafeGraph.

A few of the ones places be offering abortion services and products, consistent with the record.

And the information confirmed the place teams of other folks visiting the ones amenities got here from, the period in their visits and the place they traveled later on, consistent with the Vice Motherboard article.

SafeGraph, whose traders reportedly have incorporated billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel and a former head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence company, obtains and aggregates location records from apps put in on other folks’s cell phones.

The corporate says that the “Patterns” records of the type bought through Vice, which displays how teams of other folks engage with a given location, is anonymized to give protection to the privateness of particular person guests.

However Zach Edwards, a cybersecurity researcher, advised Vice: “It’s bonkers dangerous to have abortion clinics and then let someone buy the census tracks where people are coming from to visit that abortion clinic.”

“This is how you ‘dox’ someone traveling across state lines for abortions — how you dox clinics providing this service,” Edwards mentioned.

Vice’s article was once printed an afternoon after a Politico record on a leaked draft of a Preferrred Court docket opinion, which signifies {that a} majority of justices have voted to overturn the half-century-old Roe v. Wade ruling that claims other folks have a constitutional proper to abortions.

If that finally ends up being the legit resolution of the top court docket this summer season, the ruling is anticipated to temporarily result in the banning of abortion, or the serious restriction of the process, in as much as two dozen states.

That, in flip, is anticipated to extend the selection of other folks touring from their house states to acquire abortions at clinics in states the place the process nonetheless could be prison, as has been the case just lately since Texas followed a restrictive new abortion legislation.

When requested in regards to the Vice article through CNBC on Wednesday, a SafeGraph spokesman emailed a hyperlink to a web based put up titled, “Demystifying the SafeGraph Facts.”

Within the put up, the corporate mentioned it “just sells facts,” and “we only sell data about physical places (not individuals).”

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“To our knowledge, nobody has ever used SafeGraph Patterns data for malicious purposes,” the put up mentioned. “In fact, the Patterns dataset has mostly been used by 15,000+ researchers and academics and local governments to combat COVID-19.”

“But there are always extreme hypothetical corner cases, and in some cases these are worth actively preventing,” the put up famous.

“In light of potential federal changes in family planning access, we’re removing Patterns data for locations classified as NAICS code 621410 (‘Family Planning Centers’) from our self-serve “store” and API to curtail any potential misuse of its data,” the put up added.

SafeGraph mentioned the elimination of this information will have an effect on many educational researchers who wish to learn about the subject, “like understanding the impact of legislation on family planning visits.”

“We acknowledge that our decision to take down Patterns for family planning centers could negatively impact this valuable research, but we think this is the right decision given the current climate,” the corporate mentioned.

SafeGraph mentioned it is going to nonetheless have records on the market in regards to the places and working hours of circle of relatives making plans facilities.

“Family Planning centers like Planned Parenthood make their location data public because they want to serve their constituents,” SafeGraph mentioned.

Deliberate Parenthood made no fast remark to CNBC in regards to the SafeGraph records.

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