Google says it will delete users' location history at abortion clinics, and other ‘personal’ data

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Google will also delete data entries of users who visit counseling centers, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics and plastic surgery clinics

Google will delete location data showing when users visit an abortion clinic, the online search company said on Friday, after concern that a digital trail could inform law enforcement if an individual terminates a pregnancy illegally.

As state laws limiting abortions set in after the US supreme court decided last month that they are no longer guaranteed by the constitution, the technology industry has fretted police could obtain warrants for customers’ search history, geolocation, and other information revealing pregnancy plans.

Google on Friday said it would continue to push back against improper or overly broad demands for data by the government, without reference to abortion

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

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

A Google spokesperson did not immediately answer how the company would identify such visits or whether all related data would be wiped from its servers.

Google is the first tech company to publicly say how it will handle user data in response to concerns over the court ruling and how it can be weaponized and imposed by law enforcement.

In another update, Google said on Friday it would designate US advertisers as providing abortions even if they dispense pills by mail after a virtual consultation, but lack their own facilities.