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Do women who have abortions risk prosecution in conservative American states that claim to want to abolish the right to abortion? It is a fear of supporters of this right, feminist activists and progressive groups. Faced with this risk, Google has just announced that it would protect users of its services going to family planning centers where termination of pregnancy is performed by not keeping data related to these trips.
Last September, Texas adopted a law that encourages Americans to report women who have performed a voluntary termination of pregnancy as well as the people who have helped them. A text adopted even though the right to abortion was still guaranteed by federal justice. But this right was repealed last week by the Supreme Court and the fears of prosecution against women who have had abortions are only greater.
Faced with this prospect, human rights associations and elected Democrats have been asking major technology platforms for weeks not to keep so much personal data. They were aimed in particular at online searches relating to family planning centers or the consultation of GPS applications such as Google Maps to get to these places.
After a long silence, Google finally agreed with these proponents of abortion rights. The Internet giant announced on Friday that it will not retain data relating to an establishment considered to be “ sensitive “. This includes family planning centers but also domestic violence shelters or drug treatment centers as well as weight loss clinics or drug treatment centers. ” If our systems identify that someone has been to a location, we will delete those location history entries shortly after their visit. “said Jen Fitzpatrick, a vice president of the Californian group, in a press release.
Silence on the side of Meta and Apple
On the other hand, Meta – which includes Facebook and Instagram – as well as Apple have not yet responded to this call.
Jen Fitzpatrick reminds that location history is turned off by default and users can control what is kept or not. Regarding the requests of the authorities, she also assures that Google has the habit of ” push back when they are too extensive “. “ We consider the privacy and security expectations of people who use our products and notify them when we comply with government requests, unless lives are at stake “, she adds.