US Senators have written to the CEO of Google citing concerns that Google is failing to uphold its commitment to delete sensitive location data. In July 2022, Google announced that it would delete entries of sensitive locations from its Location History feature. This included places such as:
- Counselling centres
- Domestic violence shelters
- Abortion clinics
- Fertility centres
- Addiction treatment facilities.
However, it was found Google had failed to delete sensitive location data in nearly 60% of test cases over the last several months. After announcing publicly that they would be deleting the data this could be seen as a deceptive practice.
Google has been asked to comment on a number of things:
- How does Google identify whether someone has visited a sensitive location
- Provide a complete list of the types of locations that Google considers to be sensitive and therefore eligible for automatic deletion
- Following a comment from a Google spokesperson who said Google deletes entries “very soon” after a visit, how long after a visit does Google store the entry of the visit; and when does Google delete the entry
- Does Google allow advertisers to target ads based on sensitive location data that can reveal a users health information
- Will Google commit to consistently deleting sensitive location data that pertains to any kind of reproductive care, mental health care, and addiction treatment within 24 hours of a user’s visit and on both the users device and on Google’s servers
- Will Google agree to a third-party audit to verify such a protocol has been successfully implemented.
Google had until May 26 to respond to the US Senators questions.
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