Google says it will delete location data when users visit abortion clinics

Google announces late Friday that it will work to quickly delete location history for people going to abortion sites and other medical sites following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade last week.

“Today, we’re announcing that if our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit,” wrote Jen Fitzpatrick, Google’s senior vice president of core systems and experiences, in a blog post.

The location data change will take place in the coming weeks, Jen Fitzpatrick, a Google senior vice president, wrote in a blog post. The policy will also apply to trips to fertility clinics, domestic violence shelters, addiction treatment facilities, and other sensitive locations.

Google says it will delete location data of Sensitive information

The update on Friday comes as US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe vs Wade ruling that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion. The ruling handed a victory to Republicans and conservatives who want to limit or ban the procedure.

Locations that will have their data deleted include medical facilities like counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, abortion clinics, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, cosmetic surgery clinics, and others.

Google also added that Fitbit users who use the device’s companion software as a period tracker currently must delete those entries one by one. It is the first tech company to publicly say how it will handle user data and how the information can be weaponized against women by law enforcement.

Google has been sued by the state of Texas, accused of continuing to track users even when they use the Chrome web browsers’ supposedly private Incognito Mode — which may further erode the confidence that the company will purge all data when people try to browse privately.

The Company also made no commitments about changing the way it handles government data requests.

“We remain committed to protecting our users against improper government demands for data, and we will continue to oppose demands that are overly broad or otherwise legally objectionable,” Fitzpatrick wrote.

The company also said that users will soon be able to more quickly delete multiple menstruation logs stored on Fitbit, a health-tracking company owned by Google, rather than one at a time. The company also reminded users to employ existing settings options on Google to improve their online privacy.

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