Google is using its power to help those that could be negatively impacted by the overturn of Roe v. Wade. The company announced that the location history of abortion clinics would be deleted from the user’s history.
“Today, we’re announcing that if our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit,” wrote Jen Fitzpatrick, Google’s senior vice president of core systems and experiences, said in a blog posted on Friday.
Fitzpatrick pointed out that visits to places like counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, abortion clinics, and fertility centers “can be particularly personal.” Google’s parent company Alphabet owns highly popular devices and data services. Among that list are Android, Fitbit, Search, and Google Maps.
It’s become a concern now with the Supreme Court ruling, and there is a lot of uncertainty on whether sensitive data could be used to target what is now potentially criminal activity.
Google’s post says, “Fitbit users who have chosen to track their menstrual cycles in the app can currently delete menstruation logs one at a time, and we will be rolling out updates that let users delete multiple logs at once.”
The decision from the Supreme Court overturned nearly 50 years of legal precedent that gave women the Constitutional right to an abortion. Google and other tech companies have avoided answering questions stemming from the media and legislators on whether their data storage and practices will comply with potential law enforcement requests and, if not, how.
Google sent an email to employees with resources for its employees amid the ruling. The company has faced questions about its search results in addition to data privacy.
Before the ruling, lawmakers called out the giant tech company and the Federal Trade Commission to see that data for online consumers seeking care would be protected if the landmark ruling was overturned, CNBC News reported.
In May, 42 Democratic lawmakers requested that Google CEO Sundar Pichai stop collecting and storing unnecessary or non-aggregated location data that could be used to identify people seeking procedures.
Google’s announcement didn’t say how it would respond to potential requests from law enforcement. However, the company said it would “continue to oppose demands that are overly broad or otherwise legally objectionable.”
“Given that these issues apply to healthcare providers, telecommunications companies, banks, tech platforms, and many more, we know privacy protections cannot be solely up to individual companies or states acting individually,” the post said.