Google to erase more location info as abortion bans expand

FILE: In this Dec. 14, 2020, photo, the Google logo is seen above the company's HQ. Google will...
FILE: In this Dec. 14, 2020, photo, the Google logo is seen above the company's HQ. Google will automatically purge information about users who visit abortion clinics or other places that could trigger legal problems now that the U.S. Supreme Court has opened the door for states to ban the termination of pregnancies.(Ben Nuttall / CC BY-SA 2.0)
Published: Jul. 2, 2022 at 4:28 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 2, 2022 at 4:37 PM EDT
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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — Google will automatically purge information about users who visit abortion clinics or other places that could trigger legal problems now that the U.S. Supreme Court has opened the door for states to ban the termination of pregnancies.

The company behind the internet’s dominant internet search engine and the Android software that powers most of the world’s smartphones outlined the new privacy protections in a Friday blog post.

Besides automatically deleting visits to abortion clinics, Google also cited counseling centers, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, and cosmetic surgery clinics as other destinations that will be erased from users’ location histories. Users have always had the option edit their location histories on their own, but Google will proactively do it for them as an added level of protection.

“We’re committed to delivering robust privacy protections for people who use our products, and we will continue to look for new ways to strengthen and improve these protections,” Jen Fitzpatrick, a Google senior vice president, wrote in the blog post.

The pledge comes amid escalating pressure on Google and other Big Tech companies to do more to shield the troves of sensitive personal information through their digital services and products from government authorities and other outsiders.

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