HomeWORLDGoogle Will Delete Location History for Abortion Clinic Visits in the US

Google Will Delete Location History for Abortion Clinic Visits in the US

In light of the overturning of Roe V. Wade, the abortion ruling that protected fertility rights in the United States, Big Tech is being pressured for statements regarding their stances on how they hope to protect people. In a statement issued on Friday, Google said that sensitive places including fertility centers, clinics, and addiction treatment facilities will be erased from users’ location history data. This decision came after concerns that a digital trail could inform law enforcement if an individual has terminated a pregnancy illegally.

As state laws limiting abortions set in after the US supreme court decided last month that they are no longer guaranteed by the constitution, the technology industry has fretted police could obtain warrants for customers’ search history, geolocation, and other information revealing pregnancy plans.

In the statement, Google said that it will continue pushing back against extreme demands by the government for data, without referencing abortion. Location history of a Google account is turned off by default, but in cases where individuals turn theirs on, history of visits to abortion clinics, addiction treatment facilities, etc. will be erased.

Google is the first tech company to publicly say how they will handle user data in response to concerns over the court ruling and how it can be weaponized and imposed by law enforcement.

“If our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit,” Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior Google executive, said in a blog post.

The company has not yet responded to questions regarding how exactly it will know when an individual has visited sensitive places.

As law enforcement agencies become more tech-savvy, they’ve increasingly used the vast troves of data collected by Big Tech to bolster investigations and prosecutions.

Read Also: US Overturns Abortion Precedent, but What Does Indian Law Say?

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