Alphabet will remove location data showing when users visit an abortion clinic, the online search company said Friday, following concerns that a digital trail could inform law enforcement if a person illegally terminates a pregnancy.
As state laws restricting abortions come into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that they are no longer guaranteed by the Constitution, the tech industry has been concerned that police could obtain arrest warrants for search history, geolocation, and other issues. information from customers who disclose pregnancy plans.
Google said Friday it will continue to oppose inappropriate or too broad demands from the government for data without reference to abortion.
The company said a Google account’s location history is turned off by default.
Starting in the coming weeks, for those using location history, entries containing sensitive places, including fertility centers, abortion clinics, and addiction treatment facilities, will be deleted soon after a visit.
A Google spokesperson did not immediately answer how the company would identify such visits or whether all related data would be wiped from its servers.
Google is the first tech company to say publicly how it will handle user data in response to concerns about the court ruling and how it could be used and enforced by law enforcement.
Separately, on Friday, the company updated its policy to designate US advertisers as abortions, even if they deliver pills in the mail after a virtual consultation, but don’t have their own facilities.