Following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, people have raised concerns about how sensitive health and location data could be used against them. Google today announced “additional steps [it’s] taking to protect user privacy around health issues,” including auto-deleting abortion clinic visits from Location History.
The first upcoming change has to do with Google Account Location History, which the company notes is off by default. Any place that Google thinks you’ve visited can already be deleted on an individual or bulk basis, while auto-delete over specified time (3, 18, or 36 months) increments is also available.
In the “coming weeks,” Google will identify when you’ve visited medical facilities that might be “particularly personal,” and “delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit.” The list of places Google provided includes:
counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, abortion clinics, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, cosmetic surgery clinics
Meanwhile, the Fitbit app will let you delete multiple menstruation logs at once instead of just one at a time today. The company did not specify when this update is rolling out.
For Google Fit and Fitbit, we give users settings and tools to easily access and control their personal data, including the option to change and delete personal information, at any time.
On the “Law Enforcement Demands for User Data” front, Google says:
We remain committed to protecting our users against improper government demands for data, and we will continue to oppose demands that are overly broad or otherwise legally objectionable. We also will continue to support bipartisan legislation, such as the NDO Fairness Act recently passed by the House of Representatives, to reduce secrecy and increase transparency around government data demands.