July 5, 2022 – Google announced that it will work to remove location history data from people who visit abortion sites and other medical facilities.
Legal experts have expressed concerns about electronic data since the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade and reversed her initial view that women have a constitutional right to abortion. For weeks, Google and other tech companies have been unresponsive to questions about data storage practices and whether they would comply with potential law enforcement requests for clinic data. abortion and medical sites, according to CNBC.
“Today, we’re announcing that if our systems identify that someone has visited one of these locations, we will remove those Location History entries shortly after their visit,” wrote Jen Fitzpatrick, vice president. Senior President of Core Systems and Experiences at Google. in a statement posted on the company’s website Friday.
The update will go into effect “in the coming weeks,” she wrote. Location History is a Google Account setting that’s turned off by default, she noted, and those who turn it on can delete parts or all of their data “at any time.”
“Some of the places people visit, including medical facilities like Counseling Centers Domestic Violence Shelters, Abortion Clinics, Fertility Centers, Addiction Treatment Centers, Weight Loss Clinics, Cosmetic Surgery Clinics, and d ‘others – can be particularly personal,’ she wrote.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, owns popular devices and data services like Android, Fitbit, Google Search, and Google Maps. Fitbit users who have chosen to track their menstrual cycles in the app can delete their menstruation logs one at a time, and the company will roll out updates to allow users to delete multiple logs at once, Fitzpatrick said.
“Privacy is important to people, especially when it comes to topics like their health,” she wrote. “As these issues apply to healthcare providers, telecommunications companies, banks, technology platforms and many others, we know that privacy protections cannot be the sole preserve of individual companies or States acting individually. »
Even before the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade went official, lawmakers called on tech companies and the Federal Trade Commission to ensure that the data of those seeking abortion care would be protected if the landmark ruling is overturned, CNBC reported. In late May, 42 Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter urging Google to stop collecting and storing certain location data that could be used to identify people seeking abortions.