Science and Tech

Google says it will delete location history of visits to abortion clinics and fertility centers

() — Google will soon automatically remove location history records that show whether a person has visited an abortion clinic or fertility center, the company said Friday, following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In a blog post, Google said the move is aimed at helping users protect their privacy when visiting places that could shed light on their personal medical situation or health decisions.

Google users can already set some or all of their location history to automatically delete after a period of time, but the company said that in the coming weeks, it would make it the default setting when it comes to a range of locations. types of “particularly personal” medical placements.

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The list includes “counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, abortion clinics, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, cosmetic surgery clinics, and others,” Google said in the blog post. .

Users of Google-owned Fitbit currently have the ability to remove period tracking data on a record-by-record basis, Google added, and future updates will allow bulk removal of period data.

Google has faced mounting public pressure to respond to the Supreme Court decision even as some tech companies immediately announced financial support for their employees who might need to travel to get a legal abortion after the ruling, or said they were donating to reproductive health organizations. Google has remained silent so far.

The company has also been looking at how it intends to handle law enforcement requests for data on abortion seekers in states where abortion may be prohibited. The company said it “will continue to oppose lawsuits that are too broad or legally objectionable,” but declined to specifically address abortion-related investigations.

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