Google begins removing personal medical records from search results

Geronimo Vena
Giugno 24, 2017

Google has expanded its content removal policy for personal information and as a result, private medical records will no longer appear in Google search results.

Google has begun discarding private medical records from its list of search results, after modifying its strategy with respect to individual data.

The leaking of private medical records can be extremely damaging to the victims, both financially and emotionally, with future prospects affected and private lives of the vulnerable exposed. In December, a pathology lab in India mistakenly uploaded the records of over 43,000 patients containing sensitive information, including names and blood tests for HIV.

Previously, Google had only removed webpages with identifying financial information, such as credit card numbers, and with content that violates copyright laws.

In the past, health records have also been posted online accidentally, Bloomberg notes. This has come under scrutiny over the last few years due to the spread of fake news and misinformation.

The category was added to the list of content Google removes from searches this week, with confidential media information joining revenge porn on the list of removed content. Google recently adjusted its search results to down-rank contested information such as fake news.

As one of the world's most popular search engine, removing information from Google reduces the visibility of such information although it can be accessed with other search engines. The records were indexed in Google's search results.

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