Google will delete location data of those who visit abortion clinic

Google announced yesterday (1) that its products will delete the location history for people who go to abortion clinics in the US. The decision follows the suspension of the right to abortion by the country’s Supreme Court last week.

“If our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete that Location History record shortly after the visit,” said Jen Fitzpatrick, vice president of experiences and systems, in a post on the company’s official blog.

The care will also extend to counseling centers, domestic violence shelters and fertility clinics.

The initiative aims to address growing concerns that data collected by apps, cell phones or other electronic resources could be co-opted by authorities to investigate and punish people who decide to have an abortion.

Menstrual cycle apps

Shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision to drop Roe v. Wade, who had established the right to terminate a pregnancy in 1973, several activists and influencers recommended that people who menstruate no longer use apps to record their cycles.

In its post, Google states that “people who use Fitbit and choose to track their menstrual cycle in the app can currently delete their period logs one at a time, and we will soon have updates that will allow them to delete multiple logs at once.”

The text does not explain how the company intends to deal with possible data requests required by justice authorities. It only says that Google “will continue to oppose demands that are overly broad or legally questionable.”

Internally, Google had already informed its employees that the company’s health plan covers procedures in other states, in case the person needs to travel to obtain an abortion. It was also ensured that officials can relocate to states that do not plan to restrict access to the procedure.

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