BIG Brother is watching.

If you have a mobile phone and use a handful of apps, he’s watching everywhere you go, and everything you do. Do you have anything to hide? If not now, might you have something to hide in future?

Yesterday, during a phone conversation about antiquarian books, I used my laptop to Google the name of a gigantic secondhand bookshop in the north of England. I planted a little flag on the location, and within the hour, a notification on my phone was asking “Thinking about visiting Alnwick?”

As a consistently late adopter of technology, I still find this sort of thing both impressive and creepy. For the time being, tech firms learning about my niche interests seems to bring more benefits than risks. Targeting of posts and adverts means I learn about places, products and events of interest without having to study travel guides, browse in shops or scour what’s-on guides.

READ MORE: Government memo reveals Queen's secret influence on Scottish laws

Yes, I’m aware that my data is being sold on, and that my “free” apps are only free at point of use. But it seems a price worth paying for the convenience of being able to plan a whole mini-break within 10 minutes of a friend sending me a TikTok featuring a spectacular waterfall or an Instagram post about a must-see exhibition.

However, I’m sure I would feel quite differently about how the algorithms operate if a notification popped up to ask “Thinking of having an abortion?”

In the days since it was confirmed that the US Supreme Court was overturning the landmark Roe vs Wade ruling, American women have been protesting. They’ve been chanting, singing and holding banners aloft. Some have painted their fists or legs scarlet, confronting the so-called “pro-life” contingent with the bloody reality behind their morally vacuous rhetoric. But not all of the resistance is visible. Quietly, women are deleting apps. They are making offline escape plans. They are stockpiling cash.

READ MORE: Theresa May says 'not legal' NI Protocol Bill will 'diminish' UK reputation

There’s an awful irony in the fact that period tracker apps are a primary focus. The very technology that so many women use to monitor their reproductive health – and to avoid getting pregnant – is now seen as the biggest threat to their privacy and even their safety. What better way for state authorities to monitor what women in the early stages of pregnancy might be doing than to gain access to data about their menstrual cycles? In seeking to hide that data from prying eyes, women risk losing access to it themselves, thereby increasing their chances of needing the very abortion services that may prove impossible to access in their home states.

Even those who are not consciously logging information about their menstruation may still be generating it. When Fitbit added a period tracker to its devices, part of the aim was to help users “better understand connections between [their] activity, sleep, and cycle symptoms.” It follows that activity and sleep data alone may allow analysts to make inferences about a user’s fertility – and pregnancy.

The problems only mount up from there. Use a conventional search engine to find a clinic, and that search is logged. Phone or email to make an appointment, and that is logged too. Use a digital map to get there – logged. Use a credit or debit card to pay – logged. Text a friend for moral support – logged. Suddenly, all of the technology that has been making modern women’s lives easier – and often safer – takes on a sinister dimension.

The Digital Defense Fund was established in 2017 “to leverage technology to defend and secure access to abortion” by helping organisations to improve their digital security. Since Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, it has been sharing advice about abortion and pregnancy privacy, working with an illustrator on easy-to-share graphics.

The National: National Extra Scottish politics newsletter banner

These are an excellent resource, but the questions posed are a little overwhelming: Want to avoid advertisements related to pregnancy/abortion? Worried about your phone company having copies of your browsing or texts about your abortion? Worried about someone reading your messages or browser history? Worried about protesters outside the clinic?

If you weren’t worried about these things before, you would be after realising just how much of your communications and movements are under surveillance. Even if you don’t live in the United States, even if you aren’t a woman, even if you would never personally have an abortion, the questions should give you pause.

Anyone who attends rallies, stages protests, or engages in civil disobedience needs to be mindful of how much information they are sharing and with whom (and how likely it is to be shared with authorities in the future). Anyone whose phone usage and browsing history can be accessed by a partner (or for that matter an employer) should be conscious of this too.

There will be those who say that anyone strapping a monitor to their wrist or carrying a GPS device wherever they go is signing up to live in a dystopia, so what did they expect? But we can’t turn back the clock completely. The question now is, who can we really trust to educate us about preserving our privacy? I can guess which firms would be the first to volunteer – the same ones that are monitoring us.