Software giant hasn’t said it will protect user data in wake of Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe.
Microsoft plans to assist women financially and will cover travel expenses for abortions since Roe v. Wade was overturned but remains tight-lipped about protecting consumer data.
The tech giant is mum about ensuring privacy and deleting data such as geolocation since some people will have to travel to other states to obtain an abortion, a major concern for women and other supporters of abortion rights.
Data such as texts and web searches can be used against women and people either seeking abortions or providing support since as travel or housing in states that are making aid a criminal offense.
Will Microsoft Comply with a Subpoena?
Microsoft (MSFT) – Get Microsoft Corporation Report has not addressed whether it will delete the location history of individuals or other data and whether it would comply with requests for subpoenas from law enforcement agencies.
When TheStreet reached out with specific questions about whether data would be eliminated from the servers or if the company would comply with subpoenas, Microsoft declined to comment.
Google said it will delete a person’s location history for going to an abortion clinic and has been more proactive than other tech companies such as Apple (AAPL) – Get Apple Inc. Report who have also remained silent on this topic.
People who use mapping apps from Google will have more privacy since the company said it will delete location histories for various locations such as abortion clinics and domestic violence shelters. The change will take place in the “coming weeks,” Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president of Core wrote in a blog post on July 1.
The company’s change in policy was in response to people who sought to limit the amount of information collected on them since several states have indicated they would conduct abortion investigations and prosecutions.
Google said it plans to delete the location history after a person has visited medical facilities such as abortion clinics, domestic violence shelters, counseling centers, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, cosmetic surgery clinics, weight loss clinics and others.
Consumers can also change and delete their personal information at any time for Google Fit and Fitbit, a fitness monitoring device.
“For example, Fitbit users who have chosen to track their menstrual cycles in the app can currently delete menstruation logs one at a time, and we will be rolling out updates that let users delete multiple logs at once,” Fitzpatrick wrote.
Whether Microsoft will change its stance remains unknown. The company has only discussed how they would support women financially if they plan to travel to other states to seek an abortion, which was mentioned by Microsoft President Brad Smith said in an interview with GeekWire last week at his office in Redmond, Washington.
“And so our first principle is to honor the ability of our employees to continue to make their own choices, to enable women who work at Microsoft to travel to another state, if that is what they want to need to do, for this type of medical service, an abortion,” he said.
One step that the company took in late May was to turn on multi-factor authentication and changing other default settings,
“One of the concerns, even criticisms, that some people had was that we were not doing everything we could to protect people using our products, because we didn’t turn on so much by default,” Smith said.
While Smith did not address the issue of securing more privacy for consumers, he said Microsoft has “more work to do.”
“How do we ensure that our processes are working well, and especially as we come out of COVID, and we try to find our way towards whatever the new normal is going to be, let’s make sure that we continue to improve in this space. And we have But I hope that people know how committed we are to doing it.
Microsoft has numerous applications and software, including Outlook.com, Skype, OneDrive, or Xbox or a personal Microsoft email account.
The company does allow people to view the data about them that is saved to the cloud.
“Your privacy dashboard is the place where you can view and clear data that Microsoft saves to the cloud,” the company said. “This data includes your browsing and Bing search history, location data, apps and services activity, and more.”
Microsoft allows consumers to view their data and delete it, although eliminating it has to be completed separately.
The company says that people can delete their search history from Bing, files from OneDrive, emails, calendar and contacts via Outlook.com, chats and conversations from Skype, but only some data can be eliminated from Xbox via the website or console.