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Google will auto-delete abortion clinic visits from user location history

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Google says it’ll start automatically deleting visits to abortion clinics, domestic violence shelters, weight loss clinics, and other potentially sensitive locations from users’ location histories in the coming weeks. In a blog post on Friday, the company says that the deletion will happen “soon after” the visit, once its systems have identified that a trip was made to one of the locations. This change is happening in the wake of the Supreme Court rolling back Roe v. Wade, and several states immediately moving to outlaw abortions.

Google’s post, entitled “Protecting people’s privacy on health topics,” also mentions that there’s an update coming for Fitbit that will let you delete multiple menstruation logs at once if you’ve been using the health tracking feature. Such logs could be used as evidence in court that someone obtained an illegal abortion.

While Google legally has to comply with demands for data (and could be compelled to turn over those logs if they exist), the company does reiterate that it will “continue to oppose demands that are overly broad or otherwise legally objectionable.” Google also says that it will notify users when it gives their data to the government, unless it’s been ordered not to do so or there is a pressing security concern.

You can, of course, turn off Google’s location logging altogether by following its instructions here.


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