“Lots of people Google about abortion and then choose to carry out their pregnancies,” said Laurie Bertram Roberts, a spokeswoman for Fisher. “Thought crimes are not the thing. You’re not supposed to be able to be indicted on a charge of what you thought about.” Fisher declined to comment.
Despite mounting concerns that the intricate web of data collected by fertility apps, tech companies and data brokers might be used to prove a violation of abortion restrictions, in practice, police and prosecutors have turned to more easily accessible data — gleaned from text messages and search history on phones and computers. These digital records of ordinary lives are sometimes turned over voluntarily or obtained with a warrant, and have provided a gold mine for law enforcement.
“The reality is, we do absolutely everything on our phones these days,” said Emma Roth, a staff attorney at the National Advocates for Pregnant Women. “There are many, many ways in which law enforcement can find out about somebody’s journey to seek an abortion through digital surveillance.”