As America continues to waver over the Supreme Court’s decision on shocking abortion, Google has made a groundbreaking announcement.
As the US erupts over abortion rights, tech juggernaut Google has announced a massive change designed to protect millions of users.
Last week, the world was stunned when the US Supreme Court overturned a landmark legal decision granting citizens the constitutional right to access abortions.
The ruling, known as Roe v Wade, had protected women since 1973, until it was sensationally quashed last Friday.
It is now up to each individual state to determine whether women can have legal abortions, and many are preparing to ban the procedure, meaning tens of millions of American women have now lost their right to access abortion services.
The change has sent shockwaves across the country, sparking passionate protests.
Protests are also planned in Australia this weekend out of solidarity.
Numerous prominent personalities have rejected the Supreme Court’s move, with a range of companies also pledging to give customers and staff access to abortions, including Google, which announced Friday it would delete users’ location histories when they visit abortion clinics, domestic violence shelters and others. places where privacy is sought.
“If our systems determine that someone has visited one of these places, we will remove these entries from Location History shortly after their visit,” Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post.
“This change will come into effect in the coming weeks.”
Ms. Fitzpatrick also emphasized that the company takes people’s data privacy seriously.
“We consider the privacy and security expectations of people who use our products, and we notify people when we meet government requirements,” she said.
That prompted a group of top Democratic politicians to send a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai in May, asking him to stop collecting location data from smartphones, otherwise it would “become a tool for far-right extremists who want to crack down on people.” seeking reproductive health care. †
The issue of privacy and reproductive rights has continuously made headlines since Roe v Wade was quashed.
Shortly after Roe v Wade was quashed, proponents shared warnings that a woman’s search history, location data, and period-tracking apps could be used by authorities to find out if she’s pregnant, if she’s considering abortion, and if she’s going ahead with it. the abortion.
In a now viral Twitter post, American author Jessica Khoury warned her followers. “Uninstall your period tracking apps today,” she wrote.
The six-word tweet resonated with hundreds of thousands of people, with many wading into the comments section to express their horror that it has come to this.
While a time-tracking app contains seemingly insignificant information about its users, it is now potentially very dangerous in the wrong hands.
Customers tell the app what day their period starts and ends, so it can predict when it’s coming next, when they’re most fertile, and if their period is late — or if they’ve missed their period altogether.
When abortions are criminalized, this kind of information would be very devastating to women who become pregnant and want an abortion.
– with AFP and Alex Turner-Cohen