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Amazon, Oracle Pressed by Democrats on Post-Roe Location Privacy

July 21, 2022, 4:27 PM

Amazon Web Services Inc. and Oracle Corp. are among companies facing questions from House Democrats over their handling of mobile phone location data following the Supreme Court decision overturning a federal right to abortion.

“Data collected and sold by your company could be used by law enforcement and prosecutors in states with aggressive abortion restrictions,” Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) and five other lawmakers said in letters sent Wednesday to executives at Amazon Web Services and Oracle, along with data brokers Near Intelligence Holdings Inc. and Mobilewalla.

The lawmakers are asking whether the companies will restrict the sale and disclosure of location data that could be used to prosecute or harass abortion seekers in the wake of the June high court ruling that reversed Roe v. Wade and left regulation of the right to terminate a pregnancy up to individual states.

The companies are the latest to come under pressure for their data handling, as privacy advocates warn that location records could be used to track individuals who visit abortion clinics or travel across state lines to seek reproductive health care. Data brokers SafeGraph and Placer.ai earlier told Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that they would stop selling the location data of people who visit abortion clinics. Alphabet Inc.‘s Google pledged to automatically delete records of user visits to sensitive locations, including abortion clinics.

Representatives for Amazon Web Services, Oracle, Near, and Mobilewalla didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Digital advocacy groups Access Now, Amnesty International USA, and Fight for the Future are also urging the same companies to protect the privacy of information that could reveal details about a person’s reproductive health.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Vittorio in Washington at avittorio@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tonia Moore at tmoore@bloombergindustry.com