Google says it will eliminate location history entries if it identifies abortion center, medical facility visits
(The Hill) – Google announced on Friday that it would soon get rid of location history entries if the search engine identified that an individual had visited an abortion center or other medical facility, an action coming in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post that the location history update would be effective “in the coming weeks.”
“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,” she said.
“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,” she added.
The search engine’s announcement comes a week after the Supreme Court eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion, overturning a 50-year precedent. The decision has led to a patchwork of states rolling back access to the medical procedure, though some state laws have been paused due to pending legal battles.
Following a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion indicating the high court would rule to overturn Roe v. Wade, a group of Democrats wrote a letter to the search engine’s chief executive in May pushing Google to stop collecting and keeping data on users’ locations amid fears that that data could be sought after by those prosecuting abortion bans.