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Workers call on Google to expand abortion protections after Roe

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Below: The FTC threatens to sue an ad tech company, and Australia’s highest court sides with Google in a defamation case. First:

Workers call on Google to expand abortion protections after Roe

Google employees are calling on the tech giant to take greater steps to protect the reproductive health of workers, including expanding travel benefits for medical services to contractors and stopping political donations to anti-abortion groups .

In a petition circulated by the Alphabet Workers Union and shared with The Technology 202, more than 650 workers are demanding that the company create a task force to implement a series of policy and product changes aimed at tackling the risks related to abortion.

The move marks the first major organizing campaign at Google in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling revoking abortion rights, which sparked a backlash among Silicon Valley workers.

“For us, this is a fundamental crisis that must be dealt with immediately and quickly and not just put on the back burner,” said Alejandra Beattyone of the main organizers of the petition.

After the June ruling, Google reiterated in a memo to staff that its benefits package allows employees to travel out of state for medical procedures not available to them, including abortions, and that they can request permanent resettlement “without justification”.

But union leaders say this crucially excludes contractors and temporary workers who don’t get the same benefits — many of whom live in states that crack down on abortions.

“I have co-workers, a few thousand in Texas, who haven’t received travel reimbursement, and these are actually the people who need it,” said Beatty, who leads the union’s Southwest chapter.

Google declined to comment. Organizers said company executives have yet to respond to the petition.

Google is the latest tech company to face growing calls for action from its staff amid an escalating nationwide crackdown on abortions.

More than 1,600 Amazon employees signed an earlier petition demanding the company speak out against the reversal of deer, stop donating to politicians who oppose abortion, sponsor abortion rights protests, and expand travel benefits for workers. The company did not return a request for comment at the time. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Workers at gaming giant Activision Blizzard, which Microsoft has announced plans to buy, demonstrated in July to demand the company provide greater abortion protections. They called for workers living in “places where discriminatory laws are passed”, such as anti-abortion laws, to be offered resettlement assistance, as my colleague Shannon Liao reported.

The new petition asks Google to protect users “from the use of their data against them and to combat misinformation and misleading information”. including removing fake results for abortion clinics and strengthening health-related privacy controls.

Google announced in July that it would begin deleting users’ location history “soon” after they visit abortion clinics and other sensitive locations. Democrats have called on companies to limit their collection of sensitive information, fearing states could use the data to prosecute abortions.

Beatty called the announcement a “great start.” But the petition calls for more drastic action, stating that “abortion access information on Google should never be logged, turned over to law enforcement, or treated as a crime.”

Google employees are also urging the giant to reduce its political contributions, especially for officials “charged with appointing Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe vs. Wade and continue to undermine other human rights issues.

The petition broadly denounces “corporate influence” in government and the company’s role in it by lobbying public officials through its PAC and network of advocacy groups.

At a minimum, Beatty said, Google should “not fund those who attack reproductive rights.” The letter does not specify individual groups or examples. But it could put pressure on the tech giant to stop donations to a host of conservative groups.

According to a May analysis by the left-wing news site Popular Information, “Google has donated $525,702 to anti-abortion political groups since 2016,” including $225,702 to the Republican Governors Association, $195,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee and $105,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. .

FTC threatened to sue adtech company revealing sensitive medical visits, company says

“The agency’s proposed complaint, against Idaho-based Kochava, argues that the company violates laws that prohibit ‘unfair or deceptive practices’ by allowing its customers to consent to data collected from devices that can identify people and track their visits to healthcare providers,” Cat Zakrzewski reports.

The action follows the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade in June. It also comes as privacy advocates warn that people’s digital traces could be used as evidence that they have committed a crime.

Kochava, who said he received a proposed lawsuit from the FTC “in or around July and August,” lambasted the action. “This is an attempted manipulation by the FTC to give the impression that it is protecting consumer privacy despite being based on completely false pretenses,” Brian Cox, the chief executive of Kochava Collective, the enterprise data marketplace, told The Post in a statement. The FTC declined to comment.

TikTok says it will focus on banning paid political influencers ahead of midterms

The company plans to release new documents explaining its ban on paid political work with influencers to businesses and content creators, the Verge’s Makena Kelly reports. The company also plans to promote authoritative election information and results, TikTok said. This is the latest announcement from a major social media platform ahead of November’s midterm elections.

“Last week, Twitter said it would bring back its tools to remove false and misleading election information,” Makena writes. “Google reached an agreement with the Federal Election Commission last week to launch a new program allowing candidates and political groups to bypass Gmail’s spam filters, ensuring that their fundraising messages reach the In a blog post on Tuesday, Facebook’s parent company Meta said its midterm approach would be “consistent with the policies and safeguards” of the platform instituted during the election. 2020 presidential election.

Australian court rules in favor of Google in defamation case

The Australian High Court has said Google is not responsible for defamatory links that appear in search results, according to the Wall Street Journal. Mike Cherney reports. It’s a victory for the tech giant in Australia, where policymakers have sought to increase pressure on tech companies due to defamation.

“Several previous Australian court decisions have found social media and news organizations to be liable for content on their platforms,” Cherney writes. “In June, a lower court judge ordered Google to pay around $515,000 for videos posted on its YouTube platform that were found to be defamatory. Last year, the High Court ruled that newspapers and TV stations are responsible for user comments on stories that newspapers and stations post on Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook service Public Interest Journalism”.

Google and George Defterosthe lawyer who argued that the company should be considered a publisher of defamatory content, did not respond to requests for comment from The Wall Street Journal.

Amazon is testing a ‘feed’ feature in its app that’s similar to TikTok, the Wall Street Journal Sebastien Herrera reports. photo editor Cameron Pollack:

Amazon is testing a TikTok-like feed in an app (Wall Street Journal)

‘Absurdly high’ number of employees are fleeing Twitter as they lose faith in leadership (Insider)

Github employees are upset that the company is ready to ‘sell our users’ to Facebook with a privacy update (Insider)

Trump ordered visa checks on social media. Biden defends it. (Protocol)

Period-tracking apps won’t tell if they’ll hand your data to cops (Vice News)

Don’t use your kids to test Tesla’s safety features, NHTSA warns (Bloomberg)

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