A new investigation by Rewire, a reproductive health news service, shows that anti-abortion groups are moving beyond their time-honored approaches of picketing clinics and shouting at women: Now they're going digital, thanks to a technology known as mobile geofencing that can be used to target women through smartphones.
The technology is typically used by advertisers who want to hone in on a target audience in a specific location. Have you ever gotten an ad for Lyft or Uber right after landing at an airport in a new city? That's an example of mobile geofencing in action.
A Boston advertising executive named John Flynn realized the technology could be used to target women seeking an abortion, and to send information on crisis pregnancy centers and adoption agencies straight to their smartphones. Rewire reports that Flynn began marketing his presentations on the technology to anti-abortion groups such as RealOptions, a Northern California crisis pregnancy center network, and Bethany Christian Services, an evangelical adoption agency, and they quickly saw the potential.
Flynn's technology allows a geofence to be built around Planned Parenthood clinics and other abortion facilities, so anti-abortion messages may be sent to smartphones in clinic waiting rooms.
So if this technology targets women (How do they know it's women?) that are approaching these Planned Parenthood clinics that obviously means that a number of women who are going there for birth control or a cancer screening are going to receive this spam on their phones, telling them not to abort their non-existent fetuses.
This seems incredibly intrusive especially since these "crisis pregnancy" centers are notoriously full of misinformation about abortion, birth control, and even sex itself.
I think there should be a law against this.
Maybe when Hillary Clinton is President she will pass one. (Sorry couldn't resist.)