SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Privacy concerns have come into question in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade.

It’s about a worry whether states that make abortion illegal would go to the lengths of prosecuting a woman who goes through with the procedure by using cell phone records and internet searches as evidence.

As we delve deeper into the digital age, people get increasingly concerned about their privacy online as well as on their phones but particularly surrounding this new issue with the Supreme Court having overturned the federal protection to access abortion services.

San Francisco based non-profit Electric Frontier Foundation released a guide on their website for women seeking an abortion in states where it is illegal. It is a reminder of the importance of digital discretion in the event that with probable cause, their phone or computer is subpoenaed as evidence.

The tips shared include:

– choosing a separate browser with hardened privacy settings like brave, firefox and duckduckgo.

–  turning off the browsing history and site data or cookies.

–  getting a burner phone or keeping a secondary phone number like google voice which is free or paid apps like hushed and burner.

– carefully examining privacy settings if using a period tracker app.

– turning off ad identifiers on your phone with the help of their guide.

– and choosing an option like ‘while using’ for apps that require location data.

– or just turning off and leaving your phone at home altogether.

While these steps are helpful for various scenarios, privacy attorney in San Francisco Kelly Savage Day says she doesn’t see prosecutors going to the great lengths it takes to collect that evidence and try a woman for an abortion.

She tells KRON4, “I just don’t envision prosecutors taking that extraordinary step. and i think it would be a difficult prosecution. I think first of all, there would be constitutional issues about whether or not you can even prosecute an individual under the interstate commerce clause.”

She explains that the constitutional clause protects a person from being tried for actions in another state by their home state. But if a woman chooses to stay and have an abortion where it is illegal savage day still doesn’t believe the data collected like location, phone calls, and searches would be enough to prove them guilty.

Though one question remains uncertain, whether medical records normally protected by the federal law hippa could somehow be used depending on the case. 

Savage Day says overall she doesn’t think people need to worry about this. But if states where abortion is illegal would pursue such lawsuits, it’s important for women to be careful when talking about wanting or getting an abortion because that conversation could serve as probable cause.

Whether states will put effort into this and do so successfully remains to be seen.