Clinic consultation

Google will delete location history data for abortion clinic visits | Google

Alphabet will remove location data indicating when users visit an abortion clinic, the online search firm said on Friday, after fears a digital trail could notify law enforcement if someone unlawfully interrupts pregnancy.

As state laws restricting abortions were put in place after the US Supreme Court ruled last month that they are no longer constitutionally guaranteed, the tech industry has grown concerned that police could obtain warrants for clients’ search history, geolocation and other information revealing pregnancy plans.

Google said Friday it would continue to fight government requests for inappropriate or overbroad data without reference to abortion.

The company said location history for a Google account is disabled by default.

Starting in the coming weeks, for those using location history, entries indicating sensitive locations, including fertility centers, abortion clinics and addiction treatment centers, will be removed shortly after a visit. .

A Google spokesperson did not immediately respond how the company would identify such visits or whether any associated data would be erased from its servers.

Google is the first tech company to say publicly how it will handle user data in response to concerns over the court ruling and how it can be weaponized and imposed by law enforcement.

Separately, the company updated its policy on Friday to designate US advertisers as providing abortions even if they distribute pills by mail after a virtual consultation, but do not have their own facilities.