In a post-Roe world, the future of digital privacy looks even more bleak

Several companies that analyze location data, including Foursquare, recently announced that they limited use, share and sell data on consumer visits to sensitive locations such as reproductive health clinics. But subpoenaed law enforcement agencies can still obtain such location records.

Phone service providers that operate the backbone of wireless internet for smartphones have spoken out about plans to revise their data policies after Roe v. Wade is reversed. AT&T, T-Mobile and CTIA, a trade group that represents carriers, declined to comment, and Frank Boulben, Verizon’s chief revenue officer, said the company had nothing new to announce.

For now, those looking to blur their digital tracks have limited options. Here’s what they are.

A number of tools can be used to combat surveillance, including virtual private networks, encrypted messaging applications, private web browsers and recorded email accounts, civil liberties groups and experts. privacy experts said.

What it does: One VPN creates a virtual tunnel that protects browsing information from an internet service provider. When people use VPN software, their device connects to the VPN provider’s server. All their web traffic goes through the VPN provider’s internet connection. So if their internet provider is trying to listen to their web traffic while they are browsing the Planned Parenthood website, it will only see the internet address of the VPN server it is connected to. VPN service.

What it doesn’t do: A VPN does not hide the device’s location from the mobile network. That’s because a device must register with a nearby cell tower before connecting to the VPN, which will reveal the device’s location to the phone service provider, Eren said.

What it does: When a encrypted message through a chat service like Apple’s iMessage, Meta’s WhatsApp, or Signal, it will be scrambled when it’s sent so that anyone but the intended recipient gets it, and it stays that way when going through the machine. application owner and to the recipient.

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