Senator Scrutinizes Google’s Claims to Delete Sensitive User Location Data
Google’s policy on removing sensitive location data follows a Washington Post report revealing that the tech giant stored the exact names and addresses of medical, fertility and family planning facilities visited by reporters. As a result, it is once again questioned.
Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, Rep. Maisie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Sen. Peter Welch, Vermont, S. Ron Wyden, Oregon-D., Edward Rep. Marquee, Massachusetts, Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut, Dick Durbin, Illinois, Bernie Sanders, Vermont, and Washington Democrat Patti Murray voiced their support for the issues raised in the report. I sent a letter to Google asking for an answer.
The technology giant acknowledged that geolocation data could be associated with visits to sensitive locations, such as abortion clinics, which could put individuals’ privacy at risk, hence the report. The book’s findings have received intense attention. The company announced it would remove the data after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
In July, Google pledged to remove these types of sensitive locations from its Location History feature, including counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, abortion clinics, fertility centers and addiction treatment facilities.
Another report showed that the company failed to remove sensitive location data in about 60% of the cases tested. As privacy practitioners have warned, this data could reveal an individual’s medical decisions and the creation of user IDs by third parties, allowing advanced access to sensitive conditions. Advertising may be possible.
More than 10 months after this announcement, Washington Post reporters visited hospitals, fertility clinics, and family planning clinics in multiple states, and Google provided the exact names and addresses of the places visited (for example, the San Francisco Health Center for Family Planning). I found an example that stores . Senators sent a letter to CEO Sundar Pichai.
Publishing claims that Google will delete sensitive location data without consistently deleting it could be considered a deceptive act, they continued.
The senators will share with Google how they identify whether users have visited sensitive locations and provide a full list of metadata and other supporting documents the company used to identify them. I am asking for Google has also been asked to provide a complete list of the types of locations it considers to be sensitive and subject to automatic removal.
The study also questioned how long it takes Google to remove location entries deemed sensitive after a visit, as well as insights into the company’s targeted advertising policies, particularly campaigns that may reveal user health data. are viewed.
And, as a group of congressmen questioned in May 2022, Google will keep sensitive location data related to all kinds of reproductive medicine, mental health and addiction treatment 24 hours after users access their devices. You are asked to promise to remove it from your device and Google servers within hours.
Congress and the Federal Trade Commission have focused on consumer data privacy in recent years. In the past six months, the FTC has taken three enforcement actions against similar cases of sharing sensitive data, including health information, without user consent, in addition to several lawsuits targeting data broker deception. triggered.
As lawmakers continue to explore the possibility of enacting a federal data privacy law, Republicans have expressed similar concerns. At a recent public hearing, Republican Washington Rep. Kathy McMorris Rogers lashed out at the alarming amount of data being collected about Americans, including information about their physical health, mental health and whereabouts.
Senators have given Pichai until the end of the week to respond to an investigation, and have agreed to a third-party audit to verify that the company has successfully implemented a protocol that removes users’ location data. I am asking you to
This is the second blow to Google this week over privacy. The company reached an agreement with the state of Washington to settle allegations about misleading location-tracking practices, including a $39.9 million fine and court-ordered reforms to make location-tracking settings more transparent. ing.
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