Alphabet will delete location data showing when users visit an abortion clinic, the online search company said on Friday, after concern that a digital trail could inform law enforcement if an individual terminates a pregnancy illegally.
As state laws limiting abortions set in after the US supreme court decided last month that they are no longer guaranteed by the constitution, the technology industry has fretted police could obtain warrants for customers’ search history, geolocation and other information revealing pregnancy plans.
Google on Friday said it will continue to push back against improper or overly broad demands for data by the government, without reference to abortion.
The company said the location history of a Google account is off by default.
Effective in the coming weeks, for those who do use location history, entries showing 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 publicly say how they will handle user data in response to concerns over the court ruling and how it can be weaponized and imposed by law enforcement.
Separately, the company on Friday updated its policy to designate US advertisers as providing abortions even if they dispense pills by mail after a virtual consultation, but lack their own facilities.