Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling, Google has joined the fight in maintaining the abortion rights of women across the country.
According to a company blog post, the leading search engine will now delete abortion clinic visits from users’ location history.
The company, which is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., noted that when Google product users visit physical locations, their history is stored using the location-history setting of their respective accounts on the platform. Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google, said that the update “will take effect in the coming weeks.”
An announcement of the change comes just one week after the court’s decision to allow states to ban abortions. Along with location history, Google will delete data entries of users who visit counseling centers, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, and plastic surgery clinics.
According to Politico, a digital surveillance expert voiced concerns over the surveillance of personal health decisions as a result of the Roe v. Wade decision.
“We’re going to see all of the tools that are being developed as a way to optimize our health care now being repurposed into some sort of ‘Handmaid’s Tale’-style tracking device,” Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, said at the time.
People across the nation also took to social media to voice their concerns over their data following the court’s move. Social media users immediately warned people to delete period-tracking applications on their devices as well as take other medical privacy precautions to prevent the government from intervening any further on their personal rights.
“We understand that people rely on Google to keep their personal data secure,” the company continued in its blog post. “We’ve long been committed to this work, and today we’re sharing additional steps we’re taking to protect user privacy around health issues.”