People have expressed concern about how sensitive health and location data could be used against them as a result of the US Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade.
In a statement released today, Google stated that it is taking “additional steps to protect user privacy around health issues,” including automatically erasing visits to abortion clinics from Location History.
The business explains that Google Account Location History is by default turned off, thus the first upcoming adjustment has to deal with that feature. It is already possible to erase any location that Google believes you have visited individually or in bulk, and auto-delete over predetermined intervals of time (3, 18, or 36 months) is also an option. Once its systems have determined that a journey was made to one of the places, the business claims that the deletion will take place “short after” the visit.
How to turn it off
You can turn off Location History for your account at any time. If you use a work or school account, your administrator needs to make this setting available for you. If they do, you’ll be able to use Location History as any other user.
- Go to the “Location History” section of your Google Account.
- Choose whether your account or your devices can report Location History to Google.
- Your account and all devices: At the top, turn Location History on or off.
- Only a certain device: Under “This device” or “Devices on this account,” turn the device on or off.
Google also adds that a Fitbit update is coming that will allow you to remove numerous menstruation logs at once if you’ve been utilizing the health tracking feature in its post titled “Protecting people’s privacy on health topics.”
Although Google still keeps a lot of information about your actions on its servers, these privacy modifications are intended to remove specific data that could be used to prosecute someone for seeking medical attention. Google’s post says nothing about search and YouTube histories, which may likewise be used as evidence in investigations. Google has been contacted by us to inquire about any further measures it may be taking to safeguard user data.
Google reiterates that it will “continue to oppose demands that are overly broad or otherwise legally objectionable” and that it will notify users when it gives their data to the government, unless it has been ordered not to or there is an urgent security concern. While legally required to comply with some government requests for data (and could be forced to turn over logs if they exist), Google says that it will “continue to oppose demands that are overly broad or otherwise legally objectionable.”
Beyond Google, there are other sources of data privacy concerns about abortion: official medical records aren’t as private as we want to think, and anything from text messages to purchasing history could be used against you in court. Additionally, the corporation may not be the only one monitoring the movements of your smartphone.