New Delhi: After the overturn of Roe v. Wade by the US Supreme Court which stripped American women from their constitutional right to abortion, Google has announced that it will delete the location history of people visiting abortion clinics, domestic violence shelters, or fertility centres which can be “particularly personal”.
“If our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit,” Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post. “This change will take effect in the coming weeks.”
This move comes a week after the US Supreme Court made the major decision leading to a dozen states to ban or severely restrict abortions, prompting mass protests across the country, AFP reported.
According to the report, several politicians and activists have reached out to Google and other tech giants to limit the amount of data collected by them to avoid being used by law enforcement for abortion investigations and prosecutions.
Fitzpatrick in the blog mentioned that the company takes privacy seriously. Other places from which Google will not store location data include fertility centres, addiction treatment facilities, and weight loss clinics, according to the blog.
“Google has a long track record of pushing back on overly broad demands from law enforcement, including objecting to some demands entirely,” she wrote.
“We take into account the privacy and security expectations of people using our products, and we notify people when we comply with government demands,” she added.
Even before the court ruling, there were concerns over reproductive rights and where tech giants stand on the issue as several conservative US states in recent months passed a law giving people the right to sue doctors who perform abortions or those who facilitate them. As per AFP, this led a group of top Democratic lawmakers in May to send a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai asking him to stop collecting smartphone location data before it becomes “a tool for far-right extremists looking to crack down on people seeking reproductive health care.”
(With Agency Inputs)
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