More than 40 civil rights groups on Thursday warned that Google\u0026#039;s practice of collecting and storing the location data of its customers is likely to endanger people who seek abortion care if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, as it\u0026#039;s expected to this summer, and demanded the company put human rights ahead of its profit-driven marketing tools.\r\n\r\n\u0022Google\u0026#039;s collection and storage of location data will make the company complicit in the criminalization of people seeking abortions in a post-Roe world,\u0022 said the groups, including Fight for the Future, MediaJustice, and Amnesty International. \u0022The company must immediately stop unnecessary collection and retention of our location data.\u0022\r\n\r\nIn a letter addressed to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the organizations noted that potential criminalization of abortion patients is hardly a hypothetical outcome of the company\u0026#039;s data collection, as \u0022law enforcement officials routinely obtain court orders forcing Google to turn over its customers\u0026#039; location information.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022This includes dragnet \u0026#039;geofence\u0026#039; orders demanding data about everyone who was near a particular location at a given time,\u0022 the letter reads.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIn 2020, the company received 11,554 geofence warrants from law enforcement agencies, according to data published by Google. Should Roe be overturned, as a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion last month suggested it will be, prosecutors in more than two dozen states where abortion would be banned without the ruling in place could demand that Google share its data showing who visited abortion clinics over a period of time.\r\n\r\n\u0022In a world in which abortion could be made illegal, Google\u0026#039;s current practice of collecting and retaining extensive records of cell phone location data will allow it to become a tool for extremists looking to crack down on people seeking reproductive healthcare,\u0022 said the groups.\r\n\r\nThe organizations pointed out that other major tech companies including Apple do not \u0022retain the same quantity of customers\u0026#039; location data.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe company\u0026#039;s \u0022surveillance capitalism business model,\u0022 which it employs in order to sell targeted ads, \u0022has long undermined our right to privacy,\u0022 said Michael Kleinman, director of technology and human rights for Amnesty International USA. \u0022It\u0026#039;s terrifying to consider how the massive amounts of personal data gathered by Google and other companies can now be weaponized against people seeking to exercise their reproductive rights.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe groups\u0026#039; letter comes days after more than 40 Democratic lawmakers wrote to Pichai about the issue, warning that Android users could become especially vulnerable to Google\u0026#039;s location data collection methods if Roe is overturned because Android smartphones \u0022collect and transmit location information to Google, regardless of whether the phone is being used or which app a user has open.\u0022\r\n\r\nShortly after the draft opinion was leaked in May, location data firm SafeGraph was forced to stop selling data about people who visit abortion clinics after reporting on the company raised alarm.\r\n\r\nTo protect its users, the groups said, Google must take the same steps as SafeGraph.\r\n\r\n\u0022Google\u0026#039;s location data collection has always been a problem. Pairing this excessive invasion of people\u0026#039;s privacy with the likely future where the laws of our country give the government control over people\u0026#039;s bodies will endanger millions,\u0022 said Caitlin Seeley George, campaign director at Fight for the Future.\r\n\r\n\u0022Google must act quickly to change its practices to stop this unnecessary data dragnet before it is complicit in the criminalization of abortions,\u0022 George added.