Data Brokers Track Abortion Clinic Visits So Anyone Can Buy

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If the war in Ukraine and the atrocities still unfolding in Russia did not offer enough material for doomscrolling, this week provided a fresh dose of domestic crisis: a leaked draft Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Roe vs. Wade, tearing down a decision that has served as a cornerstone of reproductive rights for nearly five decades. And this crisis, too, will be played out as much in the digital as in the physical and legal domain.

WIRED’s Lily Hay Newman responded to the news with a guide to protecting your privacy if you’re seeking an abortion in a near world where deer has indeed been reversed. As right-wing pundits demand action against Supreme Court funder, we analyzed laws regarding leaks of unclassified government information as a draft court ruling and found that there was no no clear law criminalizing this type of information sharing. And law professor Amy Gajda walked us through the Supreme Court’s history of leaking information, which dates back hundreds of years.

As Russia’s war in Ukraine continues, we’ve looked at how small consumer drones provide a defensive tool for Ukrainians to exploit like no other war in history. And further afield in India, a battle is brewing between VPN firms and the Indian government, which demands that they hand over user data. Meanwhile, the country’s new “super app” Tata Neu has raised concerns about user privacy.

And there’s more. As we do every week, we’ve rounded up all the news that we haven’t announced or covered in depth. Click on the titles to read the full stories. And stay safe there.

Yes deerthe precedent ceases to protect people seeking abortions across the United States, the question of who can digitally monitor those seeking abortions and abortion providers – and how to evade that monitoring – will become a urgent battle for civil liberties. This week, Motherboard’s Joseph Cox kicked off the first salvoes of that battle with a series of stories about data brokers offering to sell location data that includes individuals’ visits to abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood, a blatant form of surveillance capitalism with immediate human consequences. . Anti-abortion protest groups have already used data from abortion clinics to target ads to women inside clinics, and the same data could soon be used to identify women seeking abortions at the clinic. out of state in violation of local laws.

Cox mentioned two companies, SafeGraph and Placer.ai, both of which sold location data of those who apparently visited abortion clinics. Placer.ai has gone so far as to offer “heat maps” of where visitors to abortion clinics live to anyone who creates a free account on its site. Cox’s reporting had quick results: SafeGraph, which was banned from the Google Play Store in June, responded to the Motherboard story by pledging to stop selling abortion-related location data. One of its investors, Are Traasdahl, says he is selling his stake in the company and donating the money to Planned Parenthood.

It’s up to you, Placer.ai.

While we shame companies that leak or sell their users’ location data, Grindr has long represented a particularly dangerous combination: a company that woos risky users and then blatantly fails to protect their privacy. This week, The Wall Street Journal revealed that Grindr users’ location data was sold for years – from 2017 to at least two years ago – via advertising networks, potentially exposing the travel, work locations and home addresses of millions of people. homosexual men. The revelation follows years of abuse of Grindr data and inattention to privacy and security, such as allowing anyone to identify users with a triangulation technique, and even turning a blind eye as the lives of man was ruined by spoofed Grindr accounts.

In 2022, a Russian military occupation does not only mean physical devastation caused by bombings, untold war crimes and mass deportations of Ukrainian civilians to the Russian hinterland. In the Russian-occupied region of Kherson in southern Ukraine, this now means that Ukrainians have been disconnected from the global internet and redirected to Russia’s tightly controlled, monitored and censored “Runet”. The move, confirmed by internet monitoring firm Netblocks on Monday, represents a grim advance of the ‘splinternet’ notion of repressive regimes increasingly blocking their own regional slice of the internet to exert greater control over their populations. Russia now appears to be experimenting with extending its internet crackdown to victims of its unprovoked military conquests in an effort to better control and influence digital information there as well.

Last month, the new yorker published an in-depth investigation into how Israeli hacking firm NSO Group’s highly sophisticated smartphone spyware, known as Pegasus, was used to target members of Spain’s Catalan independence movement. Now the Spanish government may have a taste of its own medicine: Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and the country’s Defense Minister Margarita Robles say their phones were also hacked with Pegasus in May and June 2021. The Spanish Criminal Court is investigating the hack, which was revealed by Citizen Lab security researchers. While the Spanish government has claimed the hack must have been carried out by a foreign culprit, Catalan Pegasus targets have long pointed the finger – for their own targeting at least – at Spain’s National Intelligence Center.

The US Treasury announced on Friday that it is issuing sanctions against Blender.io, a “mixing” service used to mask the origins and destinations of cryptocurrency. Mixers, including Bitcoin Fog and Helix, have been criminally prosecuted by the US Department of Justice for helping to conceal the cryptocurrency’s criminal origins. But the sanctions against Blender.io represent the first time the Treasury has taken action to financially ostracize a blender, making it a crime for any American to transact with the service. In this case, Blender is accused of helping to launder $20.5 million of the $620 million worth of cryptocurrency that North Korean hackers Lazarus allegedly stole from cryptocurrency firm Ronin Networks in March. This hack alone suggests that North Korean thieves have already exceeded an estimated $400 million in crypto, much of it in Ethereum currency, which they stole last year.

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