Google to automatically remove abortion clinic visits from location history

Following the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, Google announced that it’ll automatically remove abortion clinic visits from users’ location histories. 

Google’s Location History setting, which is off by default, allows users who turn it on to auto-delete their specific or all location data. The company said in a blog post that when it identifies a user visiting medical facilities including ‘’counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, abortion clinics, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics and cosmetic surgery clinics’’, the system will soon start automatically removing location data short after their visits to these places. 

In addition, the company said that users of Google Fit and Fitbit apps, which provide period tracking features, will soon be able to remove multiple menstruation logs instead of removing one log at a time. 

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, social media users started telling each other to remove period-tracker apps as they hold personal data which they fear could be used against them. Soon after, period tracker apps including Natural Cycles and Flo announced their plans to anonymize user data

The tech giant also said that it won’t comply with government demands that are against user privacy. 

‘’We remain committed to protecting our users against improper government demands for data, and we will continue to oppose demands that are overly broad or otherwise legally objectionable,’’ said Jen Fitzpatrick, Senior Vice President of Google’s Core Systems team. 

Written by Sophie Blake

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