Google announces deletion of user location history on US abortion clinic visits

Edited By: Vyomica Berry
California, United States Updated: Jul 02, 2022, 08:04 PM(IST)

Abortion-rights activist rally at the Indiana Statehouse following Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, in Indianapolis Photograph:( AFP )

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Following the US Supreme Court's decision to ban abortion, activists and politicians have been asking tech giants to limit the amount of information they collect to avoid it being used by law enforcement for abortion investigations and prosecutions

After facing calls to limit the amount of information it collects, tech giant Google has announced it would delete users' location history when they visit abortion clinics and domestic violence shelters.

Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post, "If our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit."

"This change will take effect in the coming weeks," Fitzpatrick added.

Google will also delete users' location history when they visit places where privacy is sought such as fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, and weight loss clinics.

Following the US Supreme Court's decision to ban abortion, activists and politicians have been asking tech giants to limit the amount of information they collect to avoid it being used by law enforcement for abortion investigations and prosecutions.

"Google has a long track record of pushing back on overly broad demands from law enforcement, including objecting to some demands entirely," Fitzpatrick 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."

Asking him to stop collecting smartphone location data lest it becomes "a tool for far-right extremists looking to crack down on people seeking reproductive health care," a group of top Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Google chief executive Sundar Pichai in May

(With inputs from agencies)

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