- SafeGraph announced Wednesday that it would stop selling data related to family planning centers, such as Planned Parenthood locations.
- SafeGraph is self-service and offers anyone the opportunity to purchase your aggregated data.
- The decision followed a leaked Supreme Court opinion suggesting it is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Data broker SafeGraph said Wednesday that it has stopped offering data related to family planning centers, including Planned Parenthood locations, for sale following the leaked Supreme Court opinion that the court was about to overturn. The landmark Roe v. Wade.
“In light of potential federal changes to family planning access, we are removing Patterns data for locations classified as NAICS code 621410 (‘Family Planning Centers’) from our self-service ‘store’ and API to reduce any possible misuse of your data, Auren Hoffman, CEO of SafeGraph, said in a blog post on Wednesday.
The announcement followed a report Tuesday from VICE’s Motherboard, which exposed that the data broker could be used to buy information about the locations of people who used Planned Parenthood services.
SafeGraph had labeled Planned Parenthood as a “brand” that it tracked, according to Motherboard. Planned Parenthood did not respond to Insider’s request for comment Wednesday.
Politico on Monday published a leaked draft opinion written in February by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. The opinion, which was supported by a majority of the court, according to the report, would overturn the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 decision and its 1992 decision counterpart, Casey v. Planned Parenthood. The two decisions have cemented abortion rights in the United States for decades.
Nearly two dozen states already have laws that would ban or limit abortion access if the Supreme Court overturned their previous rulings.
Data brokers, like SafeGraph, are companies that collect or aggregate data about people and businesses and sell it. According to Motherboard, anyone could purchase aggregated location data from SafeGraph that indicated how many people visited family planning centers, how long they were there, where they were before they arrived, and where they went after they left.
Earlier this week, the outlet said it had purchased data on a week’s worth of activity at more than 600 Planned Parenthood locations for $160. SafeGraph allows users to purchase data in a self-service capacity, meaning the company does not verify who is purchasing the location data and for what purpose, according to the report.
That data is aggregated from the typical apps people have installed on their phones, according to Motherboard. In addition to being aggregated, the data is also anonymised, according to SafeGraph.
“We’ve had a lot of academics use this kind of data to very good purposes,” Hoffman said Wednesday in the blog post. “Removing this data will affect a lot of academics who want to study this topic (such as understanding the impact of legislation on family planning visits).”
Hoffman said the company made the decision to suspend sales of family planning centers “given the current climate.”
Other data available for purchase from SafeGraph includes aggregated transaction data that indicates how much money people spend on certain businesses, according to the Motherboard report.
Hoffman said the company had “no indication” that the SafeGraph data had been “used for bad purposes.” The company says it doesn’t sell data about individuals, though it does sell some device-specific data, depending on the motherboard.
“SafeGraph has always been committed to the highest level of privacy practices to ensure individual privacy is NEVER compromised,” Hoffman wrote. “We use differential privacy to ensure anonymity.”
SafeGraph said it would still provide data on family planning center locations and hours of operation because that data is already publicly available.