An Analysis of Third Party Tracking of Abortion Data
Third party tracking is common across the Internet and is used for tailored advertisements towards individuals. These practices threaten the privacy of people, especially those seeking an abortion. The tracking of abortion-related data is especially important in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v Jackson Women Health Organization, which abolished the federal right to abortion that was previously established in Roe v Wade. The right to abortions is now decided by each state, many of which have severely limited or completely banned abortions. As laws and restrictions are changing regarding abortions, privacy is an increasing concern for women seeking abortions as well as individuals assisting in or providing abortions. This research examines third party tracking across abortion websites by analyzing advertisement content after visiting abortion websites. We found that while the overall distribution of advertisements were unaffected by abortion-seeking behavior, the ratio of health/pregnancy related ads were significantly higher for the conditions that visited abortion related websites. This study suggests many ideas for future research and demonstrates the challenges and importance of measuring third party tracking requests for individuals seeking abortions.
- Master's Thesis
- Information Networking Institute
- Master of Science (MS)