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Google to delete location history of visits to abortion clinics

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(Reuters) -Alphabet Inc's Google will delete location data showing when users visit an abortion clinic, the online search giant said on Friday, following 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 U.S. 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.

Separately, the company on Friday updated its policy to designate U.S. advertisers as providing abortions even if they dispense pills by mail after a virtual consultation, but lack their own facilities.

(Reporting by Ananya Mariam Rajesh and Jeffrey DastinEditing by Marguerita Choy)

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