Google Deletes Location History For Abortion Clinic Visits

Google recently stated that customers who visit sensitive locations, such as abortion clinics, will have their location information automatically deleted. In a blog posted by Jen Fitzpatrick, senior vice president of core systems and experiences at Google on July 1st, the tech giant disclosed that while the location history is switched off on Google accounts by default, the new protections will immediately remove location history for users visiting locations such as counseling centers, domestic  violence shelters, fertility clinics, addiction treatment centers, weight loss clinics, and most notably abortion clinics. 

Additionally, Google stated that it intends to provide updates for Fitbit that would enable customers who monitor their periods to simultaneously remove several menstruation logs. Currently, users can delete logs one at a time. Google Play has implemented strong guidelines to safeguard user privacy, including rules that forbid developers from selling users’ sensitive and personal data and mandates developers who handle such data securely and exclusively for operations-related purposes. However, to ensure further protection of privacy, Google has launched Play’s new data safety area. Developers may use this space to provide consumers with more information about how applications gather, share, and safeguard personal data. 

The updates have come as a result of the U.S Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, leaving women’s reproductive rights at risk. The decision has lead privacy experts to express concerns about the use of personal data as proof to prosecute a user who have sought an abortion. 

Google has called for law enforcement to implement an improved set of laws concerning user data. The tech giant claims that the current user data laws are far too broad and legally objectionable. Support has been shown by Google for the NDO fairness Act, aimed to increase transparency around government data demands. 

We’re committed to delivering robust privacy protections for people who use our products, and we will continue to look for new ways to strengthen and improve these protections”, states Jen Fitzpatrick. “We support Congressional efforts to reach bipartisan agreement on nationwide privacy protections that move the burden of privacy off individuals and establish good data practices across the board.”