Google will remove data on clinic visits for abortions

Google will remove clinic visit data for abortions

UPDATE ; DAY

After weeks of silence on this subject, Google announced on Friday that users' location data would be automatically deleted when visiting a clinic specializing in abortions. < /p>

“If our systems identify that a person has visited a (sensitive) establishment, we will delete those entries from location history shortly after their visit,” said Jen Fitzpatrick, a vice president of the California group, in a press release.

This decision comes a week after the United States Supreme Court revoked the federal right to voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion).

Elected Democrats and human rights groups fear that the personal information of women who have had abortions or individuals who allegedly helped them will be used against them by prosecutors in conservative states that have banned abortion.

So they've been calling on major tech platforms for weeks not to keep so much personal data, from online abortion research to travel on apps like Google Maps.

But Google , Meta (Facebook, Instagram) and Apple have been very quiet so far.

Jen Fitzpatrick points out that location history is disabled by default and that users can control what is kept or not.

Regarding requests from the authorities, she also assures that Google has the habit of “pushing them back when they are too extensive”.

“We take into account the expectations in terms of confidentiality and security of the people who use our products and we warn them when we accede to requests from the government, unless lives are at stake,” she adds.

Among the sensitive establishments affected by Friday's decision, Google includes domestic violence shelters, weight loss clinics and drug rehabilitation centers.

Certain laws passed before even the Supreme Court ruling, as in Texas in September, is encouraging ordinary citizens to sue women suspected of having abortions or those who helped them – even an Uber driver who allegedly took them to the clinic, for example.

Google's technologies therefore risk becoming “tools for extremists who want to suppress people seeking reproductive health care,” 42 US lawmakers wrote in an open letter , addressed at the end of May to the leader of Google Sundar Pichai.

“Because Google keeps information on the geographical location of hundreds of millions of smartphone users, which it regularly shares with government agencies,” they detailed.