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

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

The situation knowledge change will happen within the coming weeks, Jen Fitzpatrick, a Google senior vice chairman, wrote in a blog post. The coverage may also apply to journeys to fertility clinics, home violence shelters, habit remedy services and different delicate places.

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

The overturning of Roe has extra broadly renewed questions on how much data and digital trails folks have produced, which could possibly be used to surveil or goal those that try to get an abortion. In states that permit bans or different limits on abortion, regulation enforcement is anticipated to be targeted on taking motion towards medical suppliers, however details about people — together with location knowledge, funds knowledge and extra — will not be exhausting to acquire by way of knowledge brokers and different sources.

The Alphabet Staff 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 regulation enforcement might 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 robotically deleting search data about abortions, which can additionally change into wanted. Customers should individually choose to delete their search historical past.

Google has been sued by the state of Texas, accused of constant to trace customers even after 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 best way 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 rapidly delete a number of menstruation logs saved on Fitbit, a health-tracking firm owned by Google, quite than one by one. The corporate additionally reminded customers to make use of present settings choices on Google to enhance their on-line privateness.

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