Google steps up to protect users' location tracking

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Google steps up to protect users' location tracking

In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs Wade, Google is stepping up to protect user location tracking that could cause legal problems with states banning the termination of pregnancies.

The reversal of Roe vs. Wade could make abortion illegal in more than a dozen states, raising the specter that records of people's location, texts, searches and emails could be used in prosecutions against abortion procedures or even medical care sought in miscarriage.

In a Friday blog post, Google explained its new policies intended to protect users' privacy when they visit sensitive health-related locations, including abortion clinics and domestic violence shelters.

Google will automatically delete location information from users who visit abortion clinics.

Jen Fitzpatrick, Senior Vice President of Core Systems and Engagement, wrote in a blog post that Google's senior vice president of core systems and engagement, Jen Fitzpatrick, said that we re committed to delivering robust privacy protections for people who use our products.

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 wiped out of users' location histories.

Users have always had the option to edit their location histories on their own, but Google will do it for them as an added level of privacy.

If our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit, we will delete these entries from Location History. This change will take effect in the coming weeks. Google is going to update its app store protocols about data privacy to give people more information about how apps collect, share, and secure their data. The pledge comes amid escalating pressure on Big Tech companies to do more to protect sensitive personal information through digital services and products from government authorities and other outsiders.

Like other technology companies, Google receives thousands of government requests for users' digital records as part of misconduct investigations. According to the company's internal transparency report, it received nearly 150,000 requests for user data from law enforcement in the first half of 2021 and granted information in 78% of cases.

We will continue to oppose demands that are too broad or otherwise legally objectionable, because we will continue to protect our users against improper government demands for data. The blog post stated what was said.