Google says it will begin automatically removing visits to abortion clinics, domestic violence shelters, weight loss clinics and other potentially sensitive locations from users’ location histories in the coming weeks. In a blog post on Friday, the company says the deletion will happen “soon” after the trip, once its systems have recognized that a trip was made to one location. This change is happening in view of the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe vs. Wade And many states have taken immediate steps to outlaw abortion.
You can also turn off Google’s location logging completely by following the instructions here.
Google’s post titled “Protecting People’s Privacy on Health Topics” also mentions that an update is coming to Fitbit that will let you delete multiple menstrual logs at once if you’re using the health tracking feature. are.
These privacy updates are meant to selectively remove data from Google’s servers that could be used to prosecute people for care, but the company still stores a lot of other data about your activities. Search and YouTube history could also be used as evidence in the investigation, and Google’s post doesn’t mention anything about them. We have reached out to Google to inquire about other steps we are taking to protect users’ data.
While Google is legally required to comply with some government demands for data (and may be forced to turn over logs if they exist), the company reiterates that it will “continue to resist those demands.” which are overly broad or otherwise legally objectionable.” Google also says it will notify users of their data to the government, unless ordered to do so or there is a serious security concern.
Data privacy concerns about abortion go well beyond Google: Official medical records aren’t as private as many of us believe, and everything from text messages and purchase records can be used against you in court. Also, the company may not necessarily be the only entity that keeps track of where your smartphone is. For more information, you can read our article which goes in-depth on the privacy risks that people seeking care may now face.