Google announced to delete users’ location history when they visit abortion clinics, domestic violence shelters, and other “sensitive location histories” that sought privacy concealment. The announcement comes in the wake of a landmark reversal of Roe V. Wade, which was the constitutional right to abortion by the Supreme Court.
Google’s post also mentions that the deletion of location history and of visits to places that are personal, like counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, and cosmetic surgery clinics.
“Today we’re announcing that if our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from location History soon after they visit,” wrote Jen Fitzpatrick, senior vice president of system and experiences for Google, on the company’s website. The post also adds “The update will take effect in coming weeks.”
“Privacy matters to people- especially around health care”- Jen Fitzpatrick senior vice president of system and experiences Google”.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, will launch updates on popular data services devices including Fitbit users who chose to track their menstrual cycles. Users may now delete both single logs and multiple logs to track their menstrual cycles. As Law enforcement can use search histories, location data, and other digital evidence to track people seeking an abortion.
Lawmakers urged the tech companies and the Federal Trade Commission to ensure privacy earlier in May in anticipation of the verdict. 42 Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter to Google urging them to stop collecting location data of people that can recognize people who attempt or express desire to attempt an abortion. However, Google did not state how it would decline the request from law enforcement if the company is asked to produce the data. Jen Fitzpatrick wrote, “We take into account the privacy and security expectations of people using our products, and we notify people when we comply with government demand unless we’re prohibited from doing so lives are at stake- Such in an emergency situation.”