Google will delete the history of you visiting sensitive locations, including abortion clinics

Google will delete the history of you visiting sensitive locations, including abortion clinics
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Google is seen at the high profile startups and high tech leaders gathering, Viva Tech,in Paris, France May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

After the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, meaning US states could make abortion laws as strict as they want, several large companies, including Google, Bumble, Buzzfeed, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Uber, Meta Platforms and many others, have come out to say that they will reimburse the transport costs if employees need to travel out of state for the procedure, with some also saying that they’ll help with covering the cost of the procedure.

Now Google has come out to say in a blog post that its system will automatically delete the history of users visiting sensitive locations, such as abortion clinics, domestic violence shelters and weight loss clinics, “soon after” their system detects it. Though Google has to comply with government data requests, the company has said that it will fight data demands that are too “broad or otherwise legally objectionable.” But if your data has had to be handed to the government, Google says it will notify you.

Key comments:

“Privacy matters to people — especially around topics such as their health. Given that these issues apply to healthcare providers, telecommunications companies, banks, tech platforms, and many more, we know privacy protections cannot be solely up to individual companies or states acting individually. That’s why we’ve long advocated for a comprehensive and nationwide U.S. privacy law that guarantees protections for everyone, and we’re pleased to see recent progress in Congress,” Google wrote in the blog post.

“Location History is a Google account setting that is off by default, and for those that turn it on, we provide simple controls like auto-delete so users can easily delete parts, or all, of their data at any time. Some of the places people visit — including medical facilities like counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, abortion clinics, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, cosmetic surgery clinics, and others — can be particularly personal. Today, we’re announcing that 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,” wrote the post.