Google will delete location history data for abortion clinic visits

Google will delete location data showing when users visit an abortion clinic following privacy concerns after federal abortion rights were revoked in the US last month.

On Friday, the tech giant said that it would continue to push back against improper or overly broad demands for data by the government, without reference to abortion.

As the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade last month, state laws limiting abortions kicked in.

A major worry was that police could obtain warrants for customers’ search history, geolocation and other information revealing pregnancy plans from tech companies like Google.

Experts believe that a digital trail could inform law enforcement if an individual terminates a pregnancy illegally.

The company said the location history of a Google account is off by default.

For those who do use location history, entries showing sensitive places including fertility centres, abortion clinics and addiction treatment facilities will be deleted soon after a visit, effective in the coming weeks.

It’s unclear how the company would identify such visits or whether all related data would be wiped from its servers.

On the same day, the company also updated its policy to designate US advertisers as providing abortions even if they dispense pills by mail after a virtual consultation, but lack their own facilities.

US lawmakers had previously urged Google to ‘stop unnecessarily collecting’ customer location data that can be used to identify people who’ve had abortions.

Metro.co.uk has reached out to Google for comment.

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