A group of Google parent employees has pushed the company to stop collecting data on users searching for abortion information.

More than 650 employees signed a petition asking the firm to eliminate search results for crisis pregnancy centers, claiming the results were misleading.

Crisis pregnancy centers, mostly nonprofit, counsel women against performing abortions.

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A Google spokeswoman declined to comment on the petition. 

The petition asked Google to provide “immediate user data privacy controls for all health-related activity,” such as searches for reproductive difficulties.

It pushes for Google to remove user data related to abortion as well as “misleading search results related to abortion services by removing results for fake abortion providers.”

Among other concerns, the workers demanded that Alphabet expand some reproductive-healthcare coverage to contractors and stop campaigning through its internal political action committee.

It has demanded to take action to limit advertising on publishers of “disinformation related to abortion services.”

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Workers who joined the petition urged Alphabet to form a task force with 50 percent employee representation to handle abortion-related problems across the company.

After the Supreme Court revoked Roe v. Wade in June, tech firms and location-data brokers have come under increased scrutiny.

Privacy advocates are concerned prosecutors may use warrants or subpoenas to get data on people who have visited abortion centers or accessed related information.

It could be the case the data might be used to create legal cases against those accused of having abortions in states where the practice is unlawful.

Google, like most tech companies, has stated that it responds to legal requests for user data from government authorities and opposes requests that it believes are excessively broad or otherwise unacceptable.

Google’s handling of abortion-related rules has become a contentious political topic.

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Prior to the Supreme Court decision, more than 20 congressional Democrats pressed Google in a letter to Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai to take measures to reduce the appearance of crisis pregnancy centers in abortion-related searches.

The next month, 17 Republican attorneys general warned that if the company withheld results pertaining to crisis pregnancy clinics, which the group said provide critical medical services, they would take it to court.

In late June, the Alphabet union issued a public statement requesting that Google stop retaining “any data that could be used to prosecute users in the U.S. exercising their bodily autonomy.”

Google said in July that it will begin automatically erasing data about physical visits to abortion clinics collected in the firm’s products.

In an email to staff following the news last month, Mr. Pichai stated that Google will “work on new ways to strengthen and improve these protections over time.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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