Dragnet surveillance demands – so-called “reverse warrants”, “geofence warrants,” or “keyword warrants” – are a form of unconstitutional digital surveillance that put people at grave risk in a Post-Roe America. They can compel tech companies to search their records and reveal the identities of all people who looked up a particular keyword online or drove down a certain street.
When it comes to protecting our health, reproductive rights, and safety, our digital data trail matters. Carrying a smartphone, using social media, and allowing apps to track our location is a part of all of our daily routines. But people who need reproductive or gender-affirming care have to contend with a digital surveillance apparatus that could absolutely be used against them as the political landscape shifts.
California law prohibits tech companies from sharing sensitive reproductive data, including whether a person has visited a clinic or searched for information about abortion care. However, this protection can be circumvented if the police conceal the fact that they are investigating an abortion – for instance, by requesting a list of people in the vicinity of a grocery store next to a Planned Parenthood clinic rather than the clinic itself. The only way to ensure California is a refuge for people seeking or providing abortions or gender-affirming care is to take these types of dragnet surveillance demands off the table.
Bill author: Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland)
- ACLU California Action
- Electronic Frontier Foundation