Two girls participate in a demonstration with abortion-rights activists and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund outside the U.S. Supreme Court as Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson takes her oath of office in Washington, DC on Thursday. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Google announced Friday it will delete information including whether a person visited an abortion clinic as bans on terminating pregnancies grow in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.
The search giant said in a blog post that the company’s systems will delete location history entries for people who visit abortion clinics, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, domestic violence shelters and other medical facilities.
Google said that the entries would be deleted “soon after they visit” and that the policy change will take effect “in the coming weeks.”
The company, which owns the fitness giant FitBit, also revealed in the blog post that women who track their menstrual cycles in its fitness apps will soon be able to delete multiple menstruation logs at a time. Currently, app users can only delete one such log at a time.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit digital rights group, noted in a blog post on Thursday that some experts have advised deleting such apps alleging that they could be used as evidence in states where abortion has been criminalized.
“Abortion seekers face much more urgent threats right now, and period tracking apps are not at the top of the list of immediate concerns,” the nonprofit said.
The EFF noted that the most common evidence used by law enforcement include electronic communication including text messages and emails, as well as browser search histories.
Regardless, the nonprofit advised those concerned about period tracker apps to consider changing to a “more privacy-focused app.”
Such apps include the Spot On period tracker created by Planned Parenthood, which allows users to anonymize their data.
Google, for its part, said in its blog post that the search giant “has a long track record of pushing back on overly broad demands from law enforcement, including objecting to some demands entirely.”
Study: Nationwide abortion ban could cause 24% increase in maternal deaths