I think little is being said about the fact that in the US the state might ask cell phone app providers to provide them with data on women's menstrual cycles. The aim is to find out if there are any pauses that resemble an abortion – perhaps obtained in a state that allows it – to put them in jail if they live in states that prohibit abortion.
To understand what is happening in the US, we must first understand WELL what happened regarding the ruling that deprived the central state of the right to deprive local states of the right to decide on abortion.
The thing is complicated, and you can find an excellent explanation here:
In short, as in all constitutions, rights are enumerated up to a certain point, since ultimately your right (or not) to wear a green shirt is NOT mentioned in the constitution, but the right to express yourself. it is'. So, in the event of a dispute, it will be decided whether your right to the green shirt falls under the right to express yourself freely.
In the USA, an additional layer is added, because it must be established whether the central government can give the states the task of deciding or not.
Up to now in the USA abortion was not protected as such, but fell under the right to privacy. That is, in your private space the state cannot intrude.
Let me be clear: the rule does NOT say that you can do what you want. He says the state can't get in the way. They are two different things, because in the case of the private sphere, doing what you want is easy (today I eat what I want), while state intervention is expensive and complicated.
So far, that is, it was decided that abortion was part of the private sphere, and therefore it was decided that the state could NOT intervene.
So, and it is the relevant part of the post, which connects with the Apps, now the state can intervene, and the "how" and "how much" the individual states decide. In short, individual states are now authorized to intervene in this decision (abort or not), in the way they deem appropriate.
They could make a fine without criminal consequences, help people who have abortions, MAKE abortion MANDATORY, etc.: the sentence says that the state can intervene, but it does not say HOW.
Saying that the state has the right to intervene on the subject of abortion does NOT mean that it must prohibit or allow it, but it also leaves open the case in which it could make it mandatory, so to speak. Or mandatory in some cases, such as "abort the children of mixed couples", "abort the twins", and more.
Obviously it will not happen … but in theory it is now possible because the state has the right to deal with it, and complete freedom in choosing how, when and how much.
Let's go to the apps in question. Once it is established that the state can intervene in matters of pregnancy the problem is that some states that prohibit abortion are bordering on states that allow it. And so there will be a kind of abortion tourism, of girls going to abort in permissive states.
The problem with all this is that non-permissive states do not accept the idea that something that is a crime to them could be fine if carried elsewhere. Why'? Because the pregnancy happens INSIDE the woman, and if the woman comes back with the aborted pregnancy, the state still has the power to intervene. The problem was not "abortion", but "the state's right to take care of your pregnancy": so even if the abortion took place in another state, your pregnancy is still a problem, when you come home and find that it was interrupted.
Hence, the states intend to persecute local women who go to terminate their pregnancy elsewhere. But how do we know it happened? These clinics specialize in providing privacy, and if you try to get a registry of them you sometimes risk having to enter a vault protected by armed surveillance, which fires before asking questions.
Suppose in the neighboring state abortion is legal within the first three months. And suppose women use an app to track their period. Once the data has been obtained, the first suspects are those who have seen the cycle stop for a time compatible with the abortion, if for example before they were regular. It is about making "outlier detection" on the historical data.
It is feasible? Considering a single recorded cycle as a logpoint, and three months of time, even assuming that women always abort as late as possible, with three logpoints in my opinion you will have a lot of false positives.
Only in the case of extremely regular women could you say that the loss of a period or two corresponds to a pregnancy, and the return to normal after abortion is very irregular. It seems to me a mathematically weak method.
But let's get to the point: let's even assume that it works, somehow. I mean suppose these also measure basal metabolic rate and other things, because the app is awesome. Or some other way.
What does it teach us about apps?
So far, when we have complained (or rather, when people like me have complained) about too much data collected, and the ease with which people are profiled, the example was always that of countries like Saudi Arabia or the 'Iran. And the answer was: "okay, but here it is difficult for us to get to that point".
And it is true that in the USA there is no Sharia law, but the problem is that we have arrived, for the first time, at the shit in which women risk a lot (even prison, in some cases) if they are discovered. abort, or to have aborted: let's not forget that the phone keeps track of your location, so a trip to a state that allows abortion could also be tracked.
To get to a situation of brutal abuse you DO NOT need to become a country like China, Russia, Saudi Arabia or IRAN. All it takes is a state that decides that it has the right to take care of your privacy. And it can happen to western states too. It just happened.
This "incident" is the first in Western history , but it will not be the only one. And those who think that this will be limited to the USA are wrong, just as up to now those who have the illusion that this kind of thing could only happen in CHINA or IRAN have been wrong.
In the EU, for example, I see a whole series of "incidents" that will follow, even if not related to abortion.
In other words, there are sectors in which the European states have ALREADY guaranteed the right to intervene. So I can imagine several cases in which soon, and precisely in Europe, similar incidents can happen.
Let's see in which areas:
- tax area. Until now, the state struggles to know how much a person really earns, while social networks have profiled all users economically. This is why they do not offer you things that you could not buy, at least in installments. It is very easy to think of governments that require copies of all economic profiling made by social networks.
- marital fidelity. The state deals with it in divorce cases, where a court is called to decide whether an ex-spouse is at "fault", and therefore has to pay alimony to the other. The trouble is, there are dating apps, and the psychological profiling that follows. Sooner or later, a court will order you to acquire this data for a divorce process.
- The Good Costume. Whether this is absurd or not, Italian law (less than German law, but it does here too) deals with customs, which means that, unless your OnlyFans channel requires credentials ATTE to keep minors out, you could be accused of obscene acts. Ditto if you sign up for a swingers site and post your photographs, if the site does not require sufficient evidence that viewers are of legal age, so to speak. (no, the disclaimer is not enough).
- the morale of public employees. For some strange reason, civil servants cannot engage in behavior that is unbecoming for the institution where they work. Teachers fired for sexy photos, nurses fired because they go to Cap d'Adge, etc. Sooner or later, some government will ask social networks for data, for all public employees.
It is only a matter of time, just as it was only a matter of time that in the USA you got to ask for app data on menstruation: you know very well that when you apply for a visa for the USA you have to provide your social accounts, for example: it was already in the air.
All these incidents will not happen in China, or in Russia, or in other undemocratic places.
Just as a sentence was enough and in the USA the state can enter into the merits of pregnancies, in many European countries there is not even a sentence.
The lesson we have to learn from this American incident is that it can happen, and it can happen to us too, here. Second lesson: when you notice it is too late, because you have already provided your data.
So if you didn't want the incident on apps that measure the cycle of women, you had to BEFORE forbidden to keep the data in the cloud, and leave it on the phone.
It's too late now. And all those bad practices that we have tolerated are so many "now is late".