Skip to main content

Biden to call on FTC to protect abortion seekers’ data privacy

Biden to call on FTC to protect abortion seekers’ data privacy

/

He also supports a filibuster carveout to codify Roe v. Wade

Share this story

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

As early as this week, President Joe Biden plans to ask the Federal Trade Commission to protect consumer data privacy following the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to a new report from Axios.

Biden’s request is expected to come by way of a letter to the FTC, asking the agency to protect the privacy of women and birthing parents online. Specifically, Axios reported that Biden “will say the FTC should not tolerate unfair or deceptive practices related to reporting, surveillance, sharing or sale of personal information — including sensitive health-related information — in any state.”

Soon after the Supreme Court released its ruling last week, privacy advocates and lawmakers warned that data obtained from period-tracking apps and other online services could put abortion-seeking Americans at risk. Online platforms collect expansive amounts of personal information from users, often including sensitive health information and location data. 

Earlier this month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced a bill — the Health and Location Protection Act — that would impose a sweeping ban on the sale of these types of information, prepping for the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“Data brokers profit from the location data of millions of people, posing serious risks to Americans everywhere by selling their most private information”

“Data brokers profit from the location data of millions of people, posing serious risks to Americans everywhere by selling their most private information,” Warren said in a statement earlier this month. “With this extremist Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and states seeking to criminalize essential health care, it is more crucial than ever for Congress to protect consumers’ sensitive data.”

It’s unclear how the FTC may approach Biden’s request, but the agency has gone after period-tracking apps for possible privacy violations in the past. In January 2021, the popular period and fertility tracking app Flo settled with the FTC over allegations that it misled users on how it shared their private health data with third-party firms, like Facebook and Google. As part of that settlement, Flo was required to alert users on how their data was previously shared and ask for permission for it to be shared in the future. 

On Wednesday, the US Department of Health and Human Services issued new guidance on patient privacy declaring that reproductive health providers “are not required to disclose private medical information to third parties.” 

Speaking at a NATO summit in Spain on Thursday, Biden threw his support behind the Senate carving out an exception to the filibuster to codify Roe v. Wade

“We have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law,” Biden said. “And if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights, it should be we provide an exception for this, requiring an exception to the filibuster for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision.”

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 24 Striking out

E
External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


A
Youtube
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


A
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.


A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
J
Twitter
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.


T
Twitter
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.


A
External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.


A
External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.