Google Says It Will Delete Location Knowledge When Customers Go to Abortion Clinics

SAN FRANCISCO — Google mentioned on Friday that it could delete abortion clinic visits from the situation historical past of its customers, within the firm’s first effort to handle the way it will deal with delicate knowledge within the wake of the Supreme Court docket overturning Roe v. Calf.

The placement knowledge change will happen within the coming weeks, Jen Fitzpatrick, a Google senior vp, wrote in a weblog put up. The coverage may also apply to journeys to fertility clinics, home violence shelters, dependancy remedy amenities and different delicate places.

Google, which holds reams of intimate details about its billions of customers, has come underneath scrutiny for the reason that Supreme Court docket’s determination final week to strike down Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional proper to an abortion after nearly 50 years. Some supporters of reproductive rights have pushed folks to delete apps that monitor their menstrual cycles on-line, whereas specialists mentioned search and site knowledge from corporations like Google are extra possible for use as proof.

The overturning of Roe has extra broadly renewed questions on how a lot knowledge and digital trails folks have produced, which may very well be used to surveil or goal those that try to get an abortion. In states that enable bans or different limits on abortion, legislation enforcement is anticipated to be targeted on taking motion towards medical suppliers, however details about people — together with location knowledge, funds knowledge and extra — just isn’t laborious to acquire by way of knowledge brokers and different sources .

The Alphabet Employees Union, a gaggle representing greater than 800 individuals who work for Google’s mother or father firm, Alphabet, demanded on Tuesday that the search large delete any private knowledge that legislation enforcement may attempt to use to prosecute those that are getting abortions.

With Friday’s announcement, whereas Google will delete some location knowledge, it didn’t decide to routinely deleting search information about abortions, which can additionally turn into wanted. Customers should individually choose to delete their search historical past.

Google has been sued by the state of Texas, accused of continuous to trace customers even once they use the Chrome internet browsers’ supposedly non-public Incognito Mode — which can additional erode confidence that the corporate will purge all knowledge when folks attempt to browse privately.

Google additionally made no commitments about altering the way in which it handles authorities knowledge requests.

“We stay dedicated to defending our customers towards improper authorities calls for for knowledge, and we’ll proceed to oppose calls for which are overly broad or in any other case legally objectionable,” Ms Fitzpatrick wrote.

The corporate additionally mentioned that customers will quickly be capable to extra shortly delete a number of menstruation logs saved on Fitbit, a health-tracking firm owned by Google, somewhat than one after the other. The corporate additionally reminded customers to make use of current settings choices on Google to enhance their on-line privateness.

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