Jul 1, 2022 - Economy

Google will delete user location history for visiting abortion clinics

Google website displayed on a phone.

Google website displayed on a phone. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google announced Friday it will start deleting user location history whenever someone visits an abortion clinic, domestic abuse shelters or other similar locations.

Driving the news: “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, wrote in a blog post.

Why it matters: Google has faced multiple requests from users to limit the amount of data and information that it collects that could later be used by law enforcement for abortion investigations, the Washington Post reports.

Details: The search platform said it will delete location history entries for visiting counseling centers, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics as well as abortion clinics.

  • The change will go into effect in the coming weeks, Google said.
  • The company said it values privacy for users and has often pushed back against "overly broad demands from law enforcement," Fitzpatrick wrote in the blog post.

The big picture: Tech companies may soon face pressure to surrender abortion-related data in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Axios' Ina Fried writes.

  • Several tech firms are likely to turn over that data.
  • Companies have not answered directly how they plan to respond to those inquiries since the questions are hypothetical and they don't want to tip their hand on their specific policies.

Go deeper ... Tech companies face tough decisions after Roe v. Wade overturn

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