WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — For years, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been worried about how people’s online data is collected, sold and used. Now, some are concerned it could be used to enforce new abortion laws.
Last week an investigation by Vice News found a data company selling information about how many people visited family planning centers, where they came from and where they went after. The company said the data did not identify individuals, but they also decided to stop selling that data.
“I don’t think we have the full grasp of how deep our personal information has been shared,” said Republican Sen. Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia.
California Democrat Rep. Judy Chu was more direct.
“I ws in awe and disgust,” she said. “In states like Texas, where there are bounty hunters, these women could be hunted down.”
Tech companies are already under scrutiny from lawmakers over how they use customers data to make money. In 2021, the FTC reached a settlement with Flo Health after finding the period tracking app shared sensitive health data of millions of users without their consent.
Still Congress is at a standstill over how to further protect data privacy.
“Data privacy’s a big issue, here. It’s not just in the health area, it’s financial records, it’s all kinds of freedom of speech issues,” Capito said. “The reason we haven’t solved it is because it’s a really, really difficult issue.”