Google will start removing abortion clinic visits from users’ location history

1 month ago 16
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Amid information privateness concerns raised by the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, Google says it volition region termination clinics and different facilities from users’ determination history. Since the ruling, Google and different tech giants had mostly remained silent astir however they would grip requests for information astir users successful abortion-related investigations. Privacy experts person flagged the immense amounts of information collected by Google and different platforms arsenic ripe for maltreatment by instrumentality enforcement and anti-abortion groups.

In a caller blog post, Google states that it volition effort to region locations from users’ determination histories “soon aft they visit.” The institution was vague astir precisely however it would place these locations, oregon however agelong the removals would take. The institution said the aforesaid process would besides use to visits to different types of wellness facilities. 

“Some of the places radical sojourn — including aesculapian facilities similar counseling centers, home unit shelters, termination clinics, fertility centers, addiction attraction facilities, value nonaccomplishment clinics, cosmetic country clinics, and others — tin beryllium peculiarly personal,” Google writes. “Today, we’re announcing that if our systems place that idiosyncratic has visited 1 of these places, we volition delete these entries from Location History soon aft they visit.”

The institution besides said that Fitbit would beryllium updating its app truthful users tin bulk-delete their menstrual tracking accusation from the service. Other play tracking apps person besides vowed to adhd new privacy and information features successful caller days arsenic concerns equine that rhythm tracking apps could go a people for instrumentality enforcement investigations.

Google besides addressed concerns astir instrumentality enforcement’s wide requests for determination information — an contented lawmakers person also urged the institution to address. The institution reiterated existing policies, including its signifier of notifying users erstwhile their information has been requested, and pointed to its transparency reports that way specified demands. The institution besides claimed it has a “long way grounds of pushing backmost connected overly wide demands” and said it would “continue to reason demands that are overly wide oregon different legally objectionable.”

While the changes effort to code 1 acceptable of concerns that person been raised by privateness experts and activists, they won’t forestall the anticipation users’ online oregon offline activities could beryllium utilized against them successful an abortion-related investigation. Google made nary notation of whether it would region termination related queries from user's hunt past oregon YouTube accounts, for example. Browsing past and different information is besides routinely shared to Facebook and different advertisers, and information brokers are inactive easily capable to get information astir users’ past whereabouts. 

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