U.S. Congressional briefing

U.S. Congressional briefing: what overturning Roe v. Wade means for digital rights

Today, September 28, Access Now hosted the U.S. Congressional Briefing, Your body, your data: data-veillance and reproductive rights in a post-Roe world to unpack what the Supreme Court ruling means for human rights and digital safety, and what’s next for collective action.

“When the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, it didn’t only obliterate reliable access to abortion services for women and people who birth  —  and demolish any sense of agency we had over our own bodies  —  it threw the right to privacy of all people across the country into jeopardy,” said Willmary Escoto, U.S. Policy Analyst at Access Now. “The threat to privacy is even more dangerous for Black and Latina women, the disabled, immigrants, LGBTQ+, low-income people, and other communities that have been historically discriminated against and exploited.

Across the U.S., people’s private lives are constantly surveilled and monetized, and everything from an individual’s whereabouts to their online search histories can be sold and weaponized, while law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in states that have criminalized abortion can seek to access geolocation and other data to identify people who have sought abortions. Online platforms like Meta have been censoring reproductive rights content. Today’s event explored what is at stake and what the U.S. Congress can do to take a stand, from passing a comprehensive data protection law to combating the nefarious data broker industry.

Speakers included:

  • Willmary Escoto, U.S. Policy Analyst at Access Now
  • Lydia X.Z. Brown, Policy Counsel, Privacy and Data Project at  Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Adonne Washington, Policy Counsel, Data, Mobility, & Location at Future of Privacy Forum 
  • Sara Collins, Senior Policy Counsel at  Public Knowledge