Google will remove the history of visits to abortion clinics

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google

Anindito Mukerji | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Google said late Friday that it would work to quickly remove the location history of people visiting abortion sites and other medical facilities following the Supreme Court’s dismissal of Roe v. USA. Wade last week.

“Today, we’re announcing that if our systems detect that someone has visited one of these places, we’ll remove those records from location history shortly after visiting them,” wrote Jen Fitzpatrick, Google’s senior vice president of core systems and experiences. in a Blog post.

Fitzpatrick noted that visits to places such as counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, abortion clinics and fertility centers “can be especially personal.” Alphabet, the parent company of Google, owns very popular devices and data services, including Android, Fitbit, Search, and Google Maps. This has become a bigger issue since the Supreme Court decision due to uncertainty over whether sensitive data could be used to target what is now potentially criminal activity.

Google said in a post: “Fitbit users who choose to track their cycles in the app can currently delete their cycle logs one at a time, and we will be releasing updates that will allow users to delete multiple logs at once.”

The decision of the country’s highest court overturned a nearly 50-year-old judicial precedent. change their original view that women have a constitutional right to an abortion. For weeks, Google and other tech companies have avoided answering questions from the media and lawmakers about their data retention and practices, and how they would comply with potential law enforcement requests.

Google who sent Email address employees with resources for their employees under the ruling also faced questions about search results in addition to data privacy.

Even before the decision became official, the deputies urged Google and Federal Trade Commission to ensure that the data of online consumers seeking medical care is protected in the event of a reversal of the historic ruling.

In May, a group of 42 Democratic deputies urged Google CEO Sundar Pichai letter stop collecting and storing unnecessary or non-aggregated location data that can be used to identify people seeking abortions.

Google’s Friday post did not say how it would respond to potential law enforcement requests. Instead, the company said it would “continue to oppose claims that are too broad or otherwise legally undesirable.”

Google also said that the responsibility is shared by many institutions.

“Given that these concerns apply to healthcare providers, telcos, banks, technology platforms and more, we know that protecting privacy cannot be left solely to individual companies or states acting on their own,” the post reads.

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