Final week, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote a letter urging the Federal Commerce Fee (FTC) to deal with misleading practices within the Digital Personal Community (VPN) trade. Eshoo and Wyden’s letter comes as individuals look to cover their digital footprint following the Supreme Court docket’s resolution to overturn Roe v. Wade.

A VPN permits a consumer to determine an encrypted connection between their machine and a personal server, making it more durable for third events to entry their on-line exercise. With abortion changing into unlawful or restricted in a number of states, extra individuals wish to conceal their messages and search historical past, as police can use this data to prosecute somebody searching for the process.

Of their letter, Eshoo and Wyden ask the FTC to clamp down on VPN suppliers that interact in misleading promoting, or make false assertions concerning the vary of their service’s privateness. The lawmakers cite analysis from Shopper Studies that point out 75 p.c of the preferred VPNs “misrepresented their merchandise” or made deceptive claims that might give “abortion-seekers a false sense of safety.” Eshoo and Wyden additionally name consideration to stories accusing varied VPN companies of misusing consumer information, in addition to “an absence of sensible instruments or unbiased analysis to audit VPN suppliers’ safety claims.”

“With abortion unlawful or quickly to be unlawful in 13 states and severely restricted in lots of extra, these abusive and exploitative information practices are merely unacceptable,” the letter reads. “We urge the Federal Commerce Fee (FTC) to take speedy motion… to curtail abusive and misleading information practices in corporations offering VPN companies to guard web customers searching for abortions.” Eshoo and Wyden additionally ask that the FTC develop a brochure that informs anybody searching for an abortion about on-line privateness, in addition to outlines the dangers and advantages of utilizing a VPN.

Earlier this month, the FTC reaffirmed that it’s going to take motion in opposition to corporations that illegally share well being, location, and different delicate information, whereas President Joe Biden signed an government order to guard affected person privateness. Different entities have additionally taken motion in gentle of the Supreme Court docket’s ruling, with Google promising to auto-delete location information related to visits to abortion clinics.

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