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Google to delete users’ location history on US abortion clinic visits

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This change will be effective in the coming weeks.

United States of america:

Google announced Friday that it will delete users’ location history when they visit abortion clinics, domestic violence shelters and other places where privacy is demanded.

Jane Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post, “If our systems detect that someone has visited one of these locations, we will remove these entries from the location history immediately upon their departure.” ” “This change will take effect in the coming weeks.”

Other places from which Google will not store location data include fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, and weight loss clinics.

The announcement comes a week after the US Supreme Court’s tectonic decision to strip American women of their constitutional rights to abortion has led to a dozen states banning or severely restricting the procedure and widespread nationwide But protested.

Activists and politicians have been calling on Google and other tech giants to limit the amount of information they collect to avoid being used by law enforcement to investigate and prosecute abortion.

Fitzpatrick also sought to reassure users that the company takes data privacy seriously.

“Google has a long track record of pushing back overly broad demands from law enforcement, including outright objection to some demands,” she wrote.

“We take into account the privacy and security expectations of the people using our products, and we notify people when we comply with government demands.”

Concerns over smartphone data and reproductive rights arose even before a Supreme Court decision, when in recent months several conservative US states passed laws that give members of the public the right to prosecute doctors who perform abortions – or any which helps to facilitate them.

This prompted a group of top Democratic lawmakers in May to send a letter to Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai asking them to stop collecting smartphone location data, lest it be “for far-right extremists”. become a tool for those who want to crack down on those seeking reproductive health care.”

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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