By removing location history data when sensitive medical institutions, such as abortion clinics, are visited, Google is implementing a change that will preserve users’ privacy.
The announcement was made in the business’ most recent blog post, possibly in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision of June 24 overturning Roe V. Wade.
Authorities have utilised search history information to punish women who undergo abortions in at least two states. Tech businesses that have access to people’s health data are in a risky position since it can be used against them. Google is the first significant tech corporation to oppose using personal health data as a weapon.
According to Jen Fitzpatrick, senior vp of Core Systems at Google, “some of the places people visit — including medical facilities like counselling centres, domestic violence shelters, abortion clinics, fertility centres, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, cosmetic surgery clinics, and others — can be particularly personal.” Today, we’re announcing that we will remove these records from Location History as soon as possible if our systems detect that someone has visited one of these locations.
The business also implied that it wouldn’t give in to requests from the government for user information.
“Google has a long history of resisting overly broad requests from law enforcement, even rejecting certain requests completely. We consider the privacy and security expectations of users of our products, and, unless we are forbidden from doing so or lives are in danger, such as in an emergency case, we notify users when we comply with government demands.”
Google also intends to give Fitbit users the option to remove many logs at once so that they cannot be monitored if they wish to track their menstrual cycle.