Anonymous says it hacks databases to protect women who have abortions

Anonymous says it hacks databases to protect women who have abortions

It appears that there is more than one hacking co-op using their digital skills to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Representatives of the well-known hacktivist sect Anonymous claim to have deleted revealing — and now, in the wake of the de-legalization of abortion, potentially criminalized — data from unnamed period-tracking apps.

“Data from period tracking apps has been hacked and deleted to avoid identifying possible abortions in states where abortion is now banned,” wrote an account which has been linked to Anonymous in the past.

The post also included the hashtag #OpJane, which appears to be part of a larger-scale effort to delete compromising data and also target pro-life organizations and governments.

“Anti-election organizations will be attacked daily to ensure they have no safe space on the internet,” tweeted another alleged hacker, which is followed by Anonymous and claims to be affiliated. “#OpJane got engaged again.”

It is worth pointing out, that Daily dot did yesterday, that this could be a lot of nonsense with little depth. No breaches of period-tracking apps have been reported in recent days, and while some of Anonymous’ hacktivism has had far-reaching consequences, other operations have fallen.

Regardless, scrutiny of period tracking apps is indeed warranted. The New York Times reports that in the days since Roe was mercilessly struck down, period apps—which many have been using for months or even years to support cycle health and knowledge—actually experienced a sharp increase in downloads.

However, experts took to the internet to beg women and girls to remove the apps from their phones.

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“Right now, and I mean this very moment, delete all digital traces of period tracking,” read a tweet from Cambridge sociologist Gina Neff. “Please.”

Neff, along with several others, has a point. The information on these apps is incredibly revealing and it is not protected by HIPPA. In an age where data is bought and sold like candy, it’s not unlikely that information from digital menstrual diaries could end up as legal evidence – especially when digital footprints of all kinds have already been used in alleged feticide attempts.

“We should start with the kinds of data that have already been used to criminalize people,” said Cynthia Conti-Cook, a civil rights attorney and Ford Foundation technology fellow. NEW. “The text to your sister saying, ‘Expletive, I’m pregnant.’ The search history for abortion pills or visits to websites that have information about abortion.”

The popular period app Flo has introduced an “anonymous mode” as a response to fears, which can certainly be useful, but who knows how much data is already out there – a risk it seems that another type of anonymous mode is out after to disk.

READ MORE: Deleting your period tracker will not protect you [NYT]

More on Roe v. Wade: Facebook automatically deletes posts that offer postal abortion pills

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