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Abortion: Facebook gave 17


In the US state of Nebraska, a minor and her mother are being investigated for an allegedly illegal abortion. The main evidence is probably news that Facebook had to publish.

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Photo: Dado Ruvic / REUTERS

Facebook has apparently given the police the data of a 17-year-old user from Nebraska who is being investigated in the US state in the course of an alleged illegal abortion.

The case, which multiple media outlets are consistently reporting on, fuels fears that data collected by the tech companies could help jail women for abortions.

17-year-old Celeste B. is accused of burying a dead fetus after allegedly having an abortion at 28 weeks pregnant.

This is reported by the US magazine "Motherboard", which has also published corresponding court documents.

Accordingly, Celeste B. and her mother are said to have bought an abortion drug and chatted on Facebook about taking it.

"Are we starting today?" the 17-year-old asked her mother, according to chats shared by Facebook.

"We can, if you want," the mother replied, pointing out the distance between the two pills of the drug to be taken.

Investigations against the mother

The police are investigating Jessica B., the mother of the 17-year-old, among other things because of "carrying out or attempting an abortion," reports "Motherboard".

According to the article, police confiscated 13 of the family's laptops and smartphones based on Facebook chats in mid-June, securing 24 gigabytes of data for their analysis.

The police measures were approved by a judge, it is said.

In Nebraska, abortions are legal only up to the 20th week of pregnancy.

According to »Motherboard«, the trial against the mother and daughter is scheduled to begin in October, and the daughter will apparently be charged under adult criminal law.

The investigation apparently began after the police received a tip.

When questioned, Celeste B. told investigators that she had had a miscarriage.

The police continued to investigate.

With a statement on the current media reports, Facebook's parent company Meta tried to dispel the impression that it fundamentally supports investigations into abortions.

However, the group did not deny that data was released.

He confirmed that he had received the data release resolutions.

However, the word abortion was not mentioned at all in the court documents, emphasizes Meta.

According to the company, the resolutions also came before the Supreme Court ruling that overturned abortion rights in the United States at the end of June.

Digital surveillance helps criminalize abortion

Since that Supreme Court ruling, civil rights activists have feared that abortions will be prosecuted more frequently by the police in the future and that investigators will also use data left in apps and on social media platforms.

After the US Supreme Court ruling, numerous women deleted apps for tracking their periods.

Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg indirectly spoke about the issue of data disclosure in a discussion with employees at the end of June.

In response to a question about what Facebook would do to protect users who want to terminate a pregnancy, he referred to so-called end-to-end encryption, according to a report in the specialist magazine Cyberscoop.

With this technology, which is already being used by Meta's subsidiary WhatsApp, the company itself cannot decrypt the content of messages.

So far, such encryption for Facebook chats is only available as an option, it is disabled by default.

She wants to introduce the company nationwide "sometime in 2023".


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-08-10

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