back to article Data brokers amass profiles of pregnant women – and, of course, it's all up for sale

Nearly three billion profiles and other pieces of data belonging to "actively pregnant" women or those "shopping for maternity products" worldwide are up for sale by US data brokers. This, according to an investigation, which uncovered 32 different brokers selling access to mobile IDs of individuals, who, according to their …

  1. Gene Cash Silver badge

    I used to be nice to christians, not any more

    I used to just nod my head and go along with their fantasies, but this sort of witch-hunting is putting people in actual danger.

    I'm not going to be polite any more. I'm just going to be "fuck off with your retarded jesus shit" and I'm not going to put up with it for a nanosecond longer.

    If they're going to be intolerant, that cuts both ways.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

        I hope and long for the day when people doing things to appease their imaginary magical sky fairy gets treated as a psychiatric illness.

        I'm not holding my breath...

    2. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

      If there is one thing I can't stand ..... it's intolerance!

    3. KittenHuffer Silver badge
      Angel

      In my youth ....

      .... whenever I was approached (normally on some high street) by some religious person trying to 'sell' me their fantasy of an invisible sky friend I would quite happily stand there for half an hour or more trying to convince them that their invisible sky friend didn't exist. I would even describe myself as a proselytizing atheist. I don't think I ever convinced one of them to reconsider their position, but then they never convinced me either. So I guess it was a no score draw in the end.

      And it was actually that lack of success, and my time becoming more valuable to me, that changed my tactics to either ignoring them, or in the few cases that seemed to deserve it being downright offensive.

      I have sinced become convinced by the argh-uments of a new group whose invisible sky friend has noodley appendages. And I now consider myself a member of the church of the FSM.

      ---------> I was torn between this one and the 'spawn of satan'!

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: In my youth ....

        Might I recommend professing your devotion to the invisible pink unicorn? Give you god seller some opportunities to prove the IPU does not exist then repeat the same words back the them, but substitute god/Jesus for IPU.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: In my youth ....

          Hey now! The invisible unicorn is purple, thank you very much!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

      > this sort of witch-hunting is putting people in actual danger.

      Note that Pope Francis himself spoke out against the US decision.

      It might be fashionable in these circles to bash religion and to be all arrogant about one's atheism.

      But religion is what people make of it, and for many it's about empathy, tolerance and seeing them through adversity.

      Personally, I do not believe in a higher being ¹ but if you do, that's within the very personal realm of faith and not for me to judge. Whether you're a good bloke or not has nothing to do with it.

      ¹ To the exclusion of Richard Stallman, obviously.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

        "But religion is what people make of it, and for many it's about empathy, tolerance and seeing them through adversity."

        But you can be all of that without the sky fairy, and if not then what sort of person needs an eternal gun pointing at their head to be a decent human being?

        1. My-Handle Silver badge

          Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

          Characterising God as "an eternal gun pointing at their head" is a very... unique viewpoint, I have to say.

          I'm also not religious, but I don't have a problem with other people believing in higher beings.

          For a lot of people, I think it boils down to a faith that someone is looking out for them, or that their is some kind of logic or order to their lives, some kind of grand plan that they're part of. These kinds of thoughts can be very comforting and supportive to people in times of stress. If believing in God helps someone be a better person, more power to them.

          If believing in God makes someone behave like a terrible person, then they can likewise expect to reap the consequences of that. I don't think much of them trying to hide behind their beliefs when they're being shitty to other people.

          Religion isn't the issue here. It's just the excuse.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

            "Characterising God as "an eternal gun pointing at their head" is a very... unique viewpoint, I have to say."

            It it? If you don't believe, or you do bad things, you will go to hell. Well, TBF, the bible doesn't actually say it, at least not in so many words. It does say you won't get to heaven and will instead suffer somewhere else. If that's not a metaphorical "gun to the head", then what is?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

              Most religions claim some kind of "Do as I say, or else". The three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) are especially vengeful and authoritarian. I guess you all know the relevant examples from the Old Testament.

              But all religions aren't like that, there are religions which are only carrot with no stick, and there are even those who don't have any all-powerful boss you have to blindly obey to (Buddhism comes to mind, but there are others, less known ones).

              It's to be expected that egotistic sadistic sociopaths are especially drawn to Christianity or Islam, for it justifies and legitimizes their darkest impulses. You wouldn't see a Buddhist Holy Inquisition, or a Buddhist Holy War, for instance...

              My point is, never ever trust religious zealots, especially those of the three Abrahamic faiths: They are often self-righteous sadistic sociopaths with a license to kill (issued by their creative interpretation of their holy texts). They expect you to fall into (their) line, or they will gladly and eagerly "punish" you, "to save your soul". How kind of them.

              Yes, there are also those kind and dedicated souls who help others and advocate peace and tolerance, but funny enough, they would most certainly do just the same without the justification of religion. Being nice or nasty isn't determined by religion, religions are a smorgasbord where everybody takes what he feels like eating.

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

                there are even those who don't have any all-powerful boss you have to blindly obey

                Sure. Sikhism, though it's technically monotheistic, rejects the idea of a monopoly on absolute truth, for example. Hinduism and Shinto give you a whole catalog of gods to pick from.

                On the other hand, while Sikhism historically hasn't been used to motivate religious oppression (rather the opposite in fact), Hinduism and Shinto have. Neither monotheism nor the concept of a single supreme authority are necessary for abusing religious beliefs as an endorsement of violence.

                Personally, I don't invest in untestable hypotheses (which is what, by definition, any belief in the supernatural is). But I think the vitriol directed against religion is a bit misplaced, because what history shows is that ideologies can be grounded in many sorts of beliefs, and can be harnessed to oppress regardless of the ontological status of those beliefs. Take for example the eugenics and scientific racism movements, neither of which were yoked to religion.

                I do think there is something to be said for programs in rationalist thinking, even though we know humans will never be very good at it; and I even agree with Richard Rorty (against, for example, Stanley Fish) that non-substantive commitments to certain philosophical ideas can help people be better. But on the whole it's really easy for people to justify being shitty to one another, and getting rid of religion wouldn't change that.

              2. midgepad

                Some odd Buddhists in Myanmar

                WRT Muslims.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

            "it boils down to a faith that someone is looking out for them"

            He/she/it didn't look out for me, firstly my wife died of Cancer, took her five years to die, then I suffered a nervous breakdown and lost a lot of money, I then had to sell my house to pay off my debts, and now I am suffering Chronic Kidney Disease.

            1. heyrick Silver badge

              Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

              Two downvotes? Fuck that's harsh.

              My mother died of cancer a few years back, thankfully it was quick because having worked in nursing homes I know how it goes when it isn't, and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy...

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

            > These kinds of thoughts can be very comforting and supportive to people in times of stress.

            Indeed. A story from a former colleague of mine, very much an irreligious person, who found himself pinned down in a firefight, heavily outgunned. One of the other guys asks what to do. His reply came out "You're the fucking believer here!! Can't you fucking pray!?"

            (French air support eventually saved the day for some people / ruined it for others)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

          > But you can be all of that without the sky fairy,

          You can and I'd like to think that to some extent I am.

          But what do you care about *other* people's choice in the matter? You're just as insecure and annoying as the self proclaimed proselytists you're complaining about.

          1. midgepad

            Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

            Their actions.

            Note the OP and some recent specifics.

            Prosperity gospels are particularly invidious.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

        You say that Pope Francis has spoken out against the decision, but the views of Samuel Alito, quoted here:

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-62344354

        are probably more relevant. He's one of the Supreme Court judges who voted to overturn the decision, and was speaking at a conference on Religious Liberty in Rome in July. Quote from article:

        "I had the honour this term of writing I think the only supreme court decision in the history of that institution that has been lambasted by a whole string of foreign leaders who felt perfectly fine commenting on American law," Mr Alito said.

        "One of these was Boris Johnson, but he paid the price,"

        Aliito is described as "a devout Catholic" in the article.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

          "One of these was Boris Johnson, but he paid the price,"

          That's a bit arrogant and misguided to think Boris' comments of a US supreme court judgement has anything to do with his downfall. But then, "devout" people make all sorts of weird correlations to further their "cause".

        2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

          Re: "One of these was Boris Johnson, but he paid the price,"

          Ah... nice piece of religious zeal from some prat twisting unrelated contemporary events to fit their personal belief system.

          "He disagreed with me and look now! God has punished him for his ignorance!"

          Utter twattery.

          Johnson was forced to resign because he's a lying, self-serving buffoon who believes he's better than the rest of the populace. Not because he made a comment lamenting a ridiculous decision by a US Supreme Court judge - which should surely be a secular posting, religious beliefs should never into such decisions and I'd go so far as anyone espousing religious affiliation should be permantently barred from holding such a position.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: "One of these was Boris Johnson, but he paid the price,"

            This is Alito. It's far from the worst thing he's ever said.

            We're talking about the SCOTUS justice who thinks it's fine if the police murder anyone they think might be guilty of a crime, using whatever means might come to hand. He's a lousy jurist, a lousy thinker, and a lousy human being.

            Thomas is arguably worse – arguing in favor of allowing corporal punishment in schools, for example – but he's not such a loudmouth.

            Weirdly, so far the Trump appointees have managed to be not as bad as those two, Dobbs v. Jackson aside. Gorsuch was on the reasonable side of cases involving compelled speech and LGBTQ+ employment rights, for example; he's also been decent on tribal rights. Kavanaugh was on the right side in Garza and Trump v. Vance. Barrett doesn't have much of a record yet, but she hasn't been as stalwart a friend of business and authoritarianism as Alito and Thomas (see e.g. Hollyfrontier). We'll see what happens in coming years.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

          > Aliito is described as "a devout Catholic" in the article.

          More Catholic than the Pope?

          1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

            Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

            More Catholic than the Pope!

            FTFY

          2. Warm Braw Silver badge

            Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

            More Catholic than the Pope?

            Holier than thou.

      3. midgepad

        Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

        It isn't.

        It requires the belief professed in an external directing or observing entity of supernatural power.

        The rest you can work out for yourself, share, construct as consistent guidelines etc, and isn't religion.

    5. jmch Silver badge

      Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

      In my experience, the vast majority of Christians might not (or might) have an abortion themselves but aren't that concerned about what others do. It's the fringe nutters that really care.

      Unfortunately it seems that in the US, squeaky wheel gets the grease, and politicians respond to loud minorities far more than to reasonable people who keep to themselves

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

        It's always been about the "squeaky wheel" - especially when that squeaky wheel is able to go about making itself heard through violence and intimidation which seems to be common in the US and becoming so over here.

        I was brought up a Christian, and describe myself as agnostic. It's a bit embarrassing to be associated with the "bible bashers" who have little understanding of what's in it beyond the "fire and brimstone" rhetoric they hear in Church - but who then go on to try and impose their views on others through ignorance and intolerance.

        Sure, there are bits of the bible that can be taken (out of context) to support that, but mostly (especially in the new testament) it's about tolerance and understanding.

        Much the same with Islam. I'm sure many of us see Islam as something that promotes violence - hence all the terrorists. But in reality, from what little I know of it, such views are also from taking little bits out of context, ignoring everything else, and then misrepresenting those little bits as supporting violence. Christians aren't really in too much of a position to criticise - after all, we had the crusades which were pretty much the same thing back in their day.

        And now, for some reason, I have memories of seeing the late Rev Ian Paisley doing his "you're all going to hell" ranting on the TV news. Ah, now I look him up (I was a bit young when all this was going on to understand) I see he epitomises all that's wrong with some elements of religion - intolerance towards others, "fire and brimstone" talk, actively obstructing peace efforts, and it could be argued complicit in many deaths by contributing to the start of "the troubles" and obstructing efforts to end them.

        But to all those who think this is representative of religion (any religion), it isn't. It's a bit like how we see a small subset of MPs misbehaving and assume that's representative of all MPs. There's something like 650 MPs, the majority of whom get on with the job quietly and without commotion. We only hear of the squeaky wheels - because "people getting on with doing their jobs" doesn't make the news.

        1. the Jim bloke Silver badge

          Re: I used to be nice to christians, not any more

          yes

          Lawyers, politicians and religious leaders.

          Its the 99% that give the others a bad name..

  2. devin3782 Silver badge

    Today, I'm feeling a little more world sick. This was never the way

  3. Jan K.

    "Nearly three billion profiles and other pieces of data belonging to "actively pregnant" women..."

    So some 80% of all women are now pregnant?

    Looking around, I find it hard to compute...

    Thanks for a good article.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      > data belonging to "actively pregnant" women

      I'm still wondering what a "passively pregnant" woman might look like...

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        passively pregnant

        One who is not buying the shit in the adverts.

      2. the Jim bloke Silver badge

        I'm still wondering what a "passively pregnant" woman might look like...

        potentially but not obviously ?

        ..So is roughly half the population of the internet, with continually ongoing research

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One thing I noticed when we had our kids, is that companies selling pregnancy and baby products are very aggressive with their marketing. This is because there is a very small window in your life when you might actually buy those products. There is generally about 6 months while a couple are having her first child to sell them pregnancy products, and about 18 months after it is born to sell them baby products.

    If it's your first child then you don't already have anything and you don't really know what you need. But once your details end up on a mailing list for these companies you get absolutely inundated with spam.

  5. ThatOne Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Human trafficking

    > Data brokers amass profiles of pregnant women – and, of course, it's all up for sale

    Come on, if it weren't for some pesky laws they'd be still selling the persons themselves, so why should they ever care about their "privacy"?

    It's all livestock to them, and the only thing they think about is to make as much money as possible without risking too heavy a fine.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Human trafficking

      As with so many things, it's profitable and so someone will do it, until externalities are converted into direct costs. And the only way to do that in a case like this is regulation. We need to regulate these data brokers out of existence.

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