SAN FRANCISCO: Google announced on Friday that it would delete users location history when they visit abortion clinics, domestic violence shelters and other places where privacy is sought.
“If our systems identify that someone has visited one of these locations, we will remove those Location History entries shortly after their visit,” Jen Fitzpatrick, senior vice president of Google, wrote in a post. blog post. “This change will take effect in the coming weeks.”
Other places Google won’t store location data from include fertility centers, addiction treatment centers, and weight loss clinics.
The announcement comes a week after the U.S. Supreme Court made the tectonic move to strip American women of their constitutional abortion rights, leading a dozen states to ban or severely restrict the procedure and sparking mass protests across the country.
Activists and politicians have called on Google and other tech giants to limit the amount of information they collect to prevent it from being used by law enforcement for investigations and prosecutions on abortion.
Fitzpatrick also sought to reassure users that the company takes data privacy seriously.
“Google has a long history of rejecting overbroad requests from law enforcement, including opposing some requests entirely,” she wrote.
“We take into account the privacy and security expectations of people who use our products, and let people know when we comply with government requirements.”
Concerns over smartphone data and reproductive rights surfaced even before the Supreme Court ruling, when several conservative US states in recent months passed laws that give the public the right to sue doctors who perform abortions – or anyone who helps facilitate them.
This led a group of senior Democratic lawmakers in May to send a letter to Google’s chief executive. Sundar Pichaiasking it to stop collecting location data from smartphones, lest it become “a tool for far-right extremists who seek to suppress people seeking reproductive health care”.

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