GOOGLE plans to wipe out certain users’ web history – here’s what you need to know.
On Friday, the tech giant revealed it will delete user data that suggests a person traveled to an abortion center.
This new protocol comes immediately after the landmark Roe v. Wade case was overturned in 1973.
“Today, we’re announcing that if our systems detect that someone has visited one of these locations, we’ll delete those records from Location History soon after they visit,” Google senior vice president Jen Fitzpatrick wrote in a company blog post.
“This change will take effect in the coming weeks.”
Google said the new policy is in an effort to protect people’s privacy, which they say is “core.” [their] work”.
Google has long collected user data, but now federal prosecutors can use that information to target anyone who has had or requested an abortion, according to Futurism.
In fact, there are already two such cases — one in Mississippi and one in Indiana, the Washington Post reported Sunday.
In both cases, authorities used search history information to prosecute two women on pregnancy charges.
And now privacy experts are warning that this type of scenario will become more common in a post-Roe world.
Problem with search history…
In the aforementioned Mississippi case, courts used a Web search for abortion pills to indict a woman, even though there was no evidence that she had taken the pills.
“A lot of people Google abortion and then decide to get pregnant,” Laurie Bertram Roberts, a spokeswoman for one of the accused women, told the Washington Post.
“Crimes aren’t the point. You shouldn’t be indicted for what you thought about.”
Google noted that one of the big issues it wants to address with this new change is “inappropriate government data requests.”
“We will continue to oppose claims that are overly broad or otherwise legally objectionable,” the company said.
While experts see Google’s latest move as a step in the right direction, it’s unclear how the company plans to respond to law enforcement requests in the future.
Google also did not specify whether it intends to notify users of data requests from authorities.