Google to Remove Location Data After Visits to Clinics

Tech companies face pressure over user information after abortion ruling
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2022 5:50 PM CDT
Google to Remove Location Data After Visits to Clinics
Coleman Boyd preaches against abortion Saturday outside the Jackson Women's Health Organization clinic in Jackson, Miss.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

(Newser) – Google has announced that it will remove users’ location history entries soon after they visit an abortion provider, after facing pressure over fears the information could be used in prosecutions. An executive detailed the privacy change in a blog post Friday, the Hill reports, saying it will take effect in the coming weeks and apply to other places, as well. "Some of the places people visit—including medical facilities like counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, abortion clinics, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, cosmetic surgery clinics, and others—can be particularly personal," Jen Fitzpatrick wrote.

Anticipating the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, a group of Democrats wrote to Google in May asking the search engine to stop collecting and preserving data on users’ locations, fearing prosecutors enforcing abortion bans will seek it. Even before the ruling, the company was receiving hundreds of search warrants daily, per the Washington Post, and turning over users' emails, location data, and documents parked in the cloud. Users also are able to edit their own location histories, per the AP. Other tech companies face similar questions. A period tracker announced this week it now allows personal information to be removed in the app. (Read more Google stories.)

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