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Google will remove location history data for abortion clinic visits

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Google will remove location history data for abortion clinic visits

Google says vulnerable sites including fertility centers, clinics, and addiction treatment facilities will be removed.

Google will remove location data when users visit an abortion clinic, the online search company said Friday, following concerns that a digital trail could notify law enforcement if a person illegally terminates a pregnancy.

As the US Supreme Court last month decided state laws limiting abortions were no longer guaranteed by the Constitution, the technology industry has worried that police may find other people disclosing customers’ search histories, geographic locations, and pregnancy plans. may obtain a warrant for the information.

On Friday, Google said that it would continue to back down against unreasonable or overly broad demands for data by the government, without reference to abortion. The company said that Google Account’s location history is turned off by default.

For those using Location History, effective in the coming weeks, entries showing vulnerable locations, including fertility centers, abortion clinics, and addiction treatment facilities, will be removed immediately after travel.

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

Google is the first tech company to publicly say how they will handle user data in response to concerns over a court ruling and how it could be weaponized and impersonated by law enforcement. On Friday, the company updated its policy to designate US advertisers as providing abortions, even if they dispense pills by mail after virtual consultations, but lack their own facilities.

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