WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic representatives are widening their scrutiny into the role of tech companies in collecting the personal data of people who may be seeking an abortion, as lawmakers, regulators and the Biden administration grapple with the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling last month ending the constitutional protections for abortion.

In a new volley of congressional letters, six House Democrats have asked the top executives of Amazon’s cloud-service network and major cloud provider Oracle about the companies’ handling of consumers’ location data from mobile phones, and what steps they have taken or planned to protect the privacy rights

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This not only shifts the burden of risk assessment to individual users, but also makes evaluating the privacy and security of apps difficult to begin with. To do so, we consulted evaluation frameworks pioneered by the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (MIND) and The Digital Standard to arrive at four core questions to guide our study.

*A score of (0) = the app did not fulfill the privacy requirement, (1) = the app partially fulfilled the privacy requirement, (2) = the app fulfilled the privacy requirement, and (3) = the app fulfilled the privacy requirement well

**’Clear specification’ is defined

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Tech companies are scrambling to adjust their data privacy practices in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and subsequent criminalizing of abortion in several states, as the larger public realizes that the data those services collect could be used to prosecute abortion seekers. Google, for example, recently announced that it will automatically delete location data if people visit medical facilities, including abortion clinics (it still, of course, collects that data). And the period tracker app Flo is introducing an “anonymous mode” that is supposed to let users delete any identifiable information from their

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Have you ever had an online ad follow you for days on end? It appears as you’re scrolling through social media, on the sidebars of your favorite news column, and above the navigation bar of that website you love. Like a ghost, it tracks your behaviors with a quiet, sometimes creepy, determination. This “e-haunting” is thanks to digital marketers, who are tracking your online behaviors to showcase their products and drive sales.

Within the last few years, digital marketing efforts have shifted their strategies. Before, marketers relied heavily on third-party cookies to deliver highly-targeted ads. Through various web browsers,

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Google takes aim at cybercrime web. — © AFP THOMAS COEX

With the increased emphasis on digital privacy, many marketers need to find new ways to monitor their audiences. A new survey from Unsupervised finds that over 1 in 4 marketers with less than two years of experience is unsure of what other data-tracking options they have besides cookies.

In contrast, the study found that marketers with over six years of experience are 35 percent more confident in their ability to track audiences without cookies than new marketers. The experience gap is therefore quite considerable.

As to why this is

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On April 7, Ranendra Ojha, a marketing professional in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata was looking forward to installing and using the new super app, Tata Neu. Super apps are umbrella mobile applications under which companies offer a bunch of services. But as soon as Ojha installed and signed up for Tata Neu on his phone number, he was appalled to see that this newly launched app already had three of his old addresses along with his full name—details he never shared with the app.

As he dug further, Ojha realized that the app seemed to have pulled data

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