Google to Delete Location History Data for Users Visiting Abortion Clinics
Google will begin deleting location history data for users who visit abortion clinics or fertility centers, one of the first tech companies to address concerns that law enforcement would weaponize the information in states where abortion is now illegal or restricted.
The company will begin deleting location data for users who are recorded visiting medical facilities such as abortion clinics, counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, and fertility centers soon after they leave, the company announced Friday. Big Tech companies have come under mounting pressure to limit the release of data to law enforcement agencies that may be tasked with pursuing those who get abortions in states that have tightened restrictions on the procedure.
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”Some of the places people visit … can be particularly personal,” the company said in a statement. “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. This change will take effect in the coming weeks.”
Google’s location history data collection is an account setting that is turned off by default but can be activated with a user’s consent. While the company had already implemented policies that prohibit selling personal and sensitive user data to outside companies, Google has taken it one step further by requiring developers to disclose how they use the data they collect.
In addition to deleting location data, Google will also begin allowing users to mass-delete health logs contained in menstruation cycle trackers rather than the current feature that only allows users to delete logs one at a time.
Google also committed to resisting “over …