Google will Delete the Location of Women who visited Abortion Clinics in the US

World | July 2, 2022, Saturday // 11:41
Bulgaria: Google will Delete the Location of Women who visited Abortion Clinics in the US @Flickr

Google will delete users' location history when they visit abortion clinics in the US.

Google announced Friday that it will delete users' location history when they visit abortion clinics, domestic violence shelters and other places where privacy is sought.

"If our systems detect that someone has visited one of these locations, we will delete those records from the location history shortly after the visit," Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post. "This change will take effect in the coming weeks." Other places Google won't store location data from include infertility treatment centers, addiction treatment facilities, and weight loss clinics. The announcement comes a week after the US Supreme Court made the tectonic decision to strip American women of their constitutional right to an abortion, prompting a dozen states to ban or severely restrict the procedure and sparking mass protests across the country.

Activists and politicians are calling on Google and other tech giants to limit the amount of information they collect to prevent law enforcement from using it to investigate and prosecute abortions.

Fitzpatrick also tried to reassure consumers that the company takes privacy seriously.

"Google has a long track record of fending off overly broad requests from law enforcement, including objecting to some requests entirely," she wrote.

"We consider the privacy and security expectations of people who use our products and notify people when we comply with government requests."

Concerns about smartphone data and reproductive rights predated the Supreme Court ruling when several conservative US states in recent months passed laws giving members of the public the right to sue doctors who perform abortions — or anyone who helps facilitate them.

That prompted a group of senior Democratic lawmakers in May to send a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai asking him to stop collecting location data on smartphones so they don't become "a tool for far-right extremists, who want to prevent people seeking reproductive health care."

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