The internet search company said Friday that Alphabet will delete location data that appears when users visit an abortion clinic, following concerns that the digital path could inform law enforcement if an individual illegally terminated a pregnancy.
As state laws limiting abortions were put in place after the US Supreme Court ruled last month that they are no longer guaranteed under the Constitution, the tech industry has raised police concerns about the possibility for police to obtain warrants about clients’ search history, geolocation and other information. Which reveals pregnancy plans.
Google said Friday that it will continue to resist inappropriate or overly broad demands for data by the government, without mentioning abortion.
The company said that the Google account’s location history is disabled by default.
Effective in the coming weeks, for those who use the site’s history, entries showing sensitive places including fertility centers, abortion clinics and addiction treatment facilities will be deleted soon after the visit.
A Google spokesperson did not immediately respond about how the company would identify such visits or whether all relevant data would be erased from its servers.
Google is the first tech company to publicly announce how it will handle user data in response to concerns about a court ruling and how it could be weaponized and enforced by law enforcement.
Separately, the company on Friday updated its policy to classify US advertisers as offering abortions even if they distributed pills by mail after a hypothetical consultation, but lacked their own facilities.
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