In a press release published on July 1, 2022, Google announced that it would exclude abortion clinics geolocation history. This decision should make it possible to prevent the American authorities from using this data to punish those who have had an illegal abortion.
Google will exclude certain geolocation data
Since the Roe vs. Wade ruling was overturned. by the United States Supreme Court, many states are expected to prohibit or restrict access to abortion. A historic decision for the country, which still finds it difficult to believe. To help protect women who still wish to have an abortion in other states, Google has decided to propose a new measure that could offer them some degree of anonymity.
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While Meta’s policy is ambiguous on the subject of abortion pills on social media, Since the announcement of the overturning of the Roe vs Wade decision, Google has decided to stop backing up, in geolocation history of its users, visits to abortion clinics. This will also be the case for many sensitive places, such as homes for victims of domestic violence, fertility clinics or addiction treatment centers.
A measure to protect women who wish to have an abortion
Google specifies that “If our systems detect that someone has visited one of these locations, we will delete these location history entries shortly thereafter. This new rule will take effect in the coming weeks.”. This is rather good news, even if the company does not specify whether this decision will be applied worldwide or only in the United States. Either way, it’s an important move on Google’s part to help protect its users.
An announcement that comes as most of the tech giants are rightly ordered to take measures to prevent their users’ data from being used by the authorities to repress abortion. In states where abortion is prohibited, justice could claim geolocation data from web giants, “to determine whether a person has visited a clinic performing abortion”.
Several elected Democrats had already asked Google to “limit the collection of geolocation data to protect its users”. They were probably heard.