Acxiom, the enormous knowledge dealer, says it would not acquire info that could possibly be used for abortion prosecutions

In what they consider to be the primary proposal on the problem, shareholder advocates have requested one of many world’s largest knowledge brokers to check and launch a report on the way it can defend info that could possibly be utilized in abortion-related prosecutions.

Open MIC (Media and Information Companies Initiative), a nonprofit investor advocacy group that focuses on accountability at expertise and different corporations, submitted the proposal to the Interpublic Group of Cos.
about its subsidiary, Acxiom, for consideration on the firm’s annual normal assembly this summer season. Acxiom is among the largest corporations that collects and sells buyer info for advertising functions.

After Open MIC shared its proposal with MarketWatch on Thursday and stated it has did not have significant dialogue with the corporate on the problem, Acxiom instructed MarketWatch it doesn’t acquire info that could possibly be used for doable investigations associated to abortions.

“Following revocation of the constitutional right to an abortion in June 2022, policymakers are concerned about the use of personal digital data for enforcement of state laws that ban or limit abortion access,” the decision reads, citing laws launched in Congress to spice up privateness safety and ban knowledge brokers from promoting shoppers’ well being info.

The info Acxiom collects that might doubtlessly be accessed by regulation enforcement consists of geolocation knowledge, on-line exercise, web historical past, business transaction historical past and inferential knowledge, in keeping with Open MIC’s proposal. IPG has not but launched its proxy.

“A big part of our concern really comes down to transparency,” Dana Floberg, Open MIC’s advocacy director, instructed MarketWatch on Thursday. It’s unclear precisely what knowledge Acxiom collects, Floberg added, in addition to “what kinds of measures they may or may not be taking to ensure they keep that data safe, and what they turn over to law enforcement.”

The firm’s privateness coverage says it turns over knowledge “as necessary … to respond to law enforcement.”

But Axciom spokesperson Erin Tomaski instructed MarketWatch on Thursday: “As we stated in our discussions with Open MIC, we do not collect personally identifiable information that could be used by law enforcement for abortion-related prosecutions.”

Tomaski stated the corporate doesn’t acquire knowledge associated to medical clinics, hospitals, abortion clinics, faculties and locations of worship. Additionally, Tomaski stated Acxiom up to date its privateness coverage on account of its engagement with Open MIC, together with to specify that it doesn’t acquire individuals’s “movement” knowledge, and doesn’t acquire info associated to visits to reproductive-health clinics.

Michael Connor, the chief director of Open MIC, stated what Acxiom shared with MarketWatch on Thursday “goes beyond what they told us… We’re glad they’re going public now, but until now they’ve refused to do that.” He stated he continues to consider what the proposal is requesting can be helpful as a result of the corporate’s board “should exercise due diligence regarding Acxiom’s policies.”

Open MIC submitted its proposal in mid-December, and Connor stated its discussions with each IPG and Acxiom “have not been productive.”

The group is particularly asking for IPG’s board to think about enter from reproductive-rights and civil-liberties organizations, and “issue a public report assessing the feasibility of reducing the risks of abortion-related law enforcement information requests and purchases by expanding consumer privacy protections and controls over sensitive personal data.”

In the months because the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, two dozen states have banned abortion or are contemplating doing so, in keeping with the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive-health suppose tank that helps abortion rights. Examples of on-line info being utilized in abortion investigations embody Nebraska police final 12 months reportedly utilizing Facebook
messages of a mom who allegedly helped her teenage daughter get an abortion.

Big Tech corporations have additionally been pressured to deal with considerations round knowledge they acquire that could possibly be utilized in abortion investigations and prosecutions. Every week after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization determination overruled the constitutional proper to abortion, Alphabet Inc.’s

 Google stated it might delete members’ location historical past for visits to abortion clinics and different delicate areas.

“Acxiom has the potential to set a standard for the industry in positive (and negative) ways,” Floberg stated. IPG has signaled its concern over the problem, they added; final 12 months, the corporate stated it might cowl journey prices for workers who want abortion care.

This story has been up to date with remark from Acxiom.

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