Google Says It Will Delete Location Data When Users Visit Abortion Clinics

 

SAN FRANCISCO — Google mentioned on Friday that it could delete abortion clinic visits from the placement historical past of its customers, within the firm’s first effort to deal with the way it will deal with delicate information within the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

The location information change will happen within the coming weeks, Jen Fitzpatrick, a Google senior vice chairman, wrote in a blog post. The coverage may even apply to journeys to fertility clinics, home violence shelters, dependancy therapy amenities and different delicate places.

Google, which holds reams of intimate details about its billions of customers, has come below scrutiny because the Supreme Court’s choice final week to strike down Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional proper to an abortion after virtually 50 years. Some supporters of reproductive rights have pushed folks to delete apps that monitor their menstrual cycles on-line, whereas specialists mentioned search and placement information from corporations like Google are extra possible for use as proof.

The overturning of Roe has extra broadly renewed questions on how a lot information and digital trails folks have produced, which could possibly be used to surveil or goal those that try to get an abortion. In states that permit bans or different limits on abortion, regulation enforcement is anticipated to be centered on taking motion in opposition to medical suppliers, however details about people — together with location information, funds information and extra — is just not arduous to acquire by means of information brokers and different sources.

The Alphabet Workers Union, a gaggle representing greater than 800 individuals who work for Google’s mum or dad firm, Alphabet, demanded on Tuesday that the search big delete any private information that regulation enforcement may attempt to use to prosecute those that are getting abortions.

With Friday’s announcement, whereas Google will delete some location information, it didn’t decide to mechanically deleting search data about abortions, which can additionally turn into wanted. Users should individually decide to delete their search historical past.

Google has been sued by the state of Texas, accused of continuous to trace customers even once they use the Chrome internet browsers’ supposedly personal Incognito Mode — which can additional erode confidence that the corporate will purge all information when folks attempt to browse privately.

Google additionally made no commitments about altering the way in which it handles authorities information requests.

“We stay dedicated to defending our customers in opposition to improper authorities calls for for information, and we are going to proceed to oppose calls for which can be overly broad or in any other case legally objectionable,” Ms. Fitzpatrick wrote.

The firm additionally mentioned that customers will quickly have the ability to extra shortly delete a number of menstruation logs saved on Fitbit, a health-tracking firm owned by Google, somewhat than separately. The firm additionally reminded customers to make use of present settings choices on Google to enhance their on-line privateness.


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