Authored By: Iris Garrett
Internet giant Google is changing how some content appears on its site, and it will probably give you much peace of mind. According to The Guardian, the company has updated its removal policies and will be taking down private medical records from appearing in its search results.
The Guardian says the policy change came late last month when Google included “confidential, personal medical records of private people” to the category of information the site can remove without being prompted beforehand. The Guardian says other instances that fall under this category are national or government issued identification numbers, credit card and bank account numbers, and an image of someone’s signature. The Guardian says the last known change in Google’s scrubbing policy was in 2015 when it added “revenge porn,” or sexually explicit images uploaded without consent to its removal list.
According to Bloomberg, Google’s move to remove medical records also veers slightly from the company’s typical, algorithmic approach to providing online content; however, it does follow a recent adjustment to the site’s ranking system when it comes to filtering fake and misleading news. Bloomberg says Google generally only pulls information when it receives specific requests from individuals.
The Guardian says Google’s indexing system captures any information that is publicly accessible on the internet, and being that patient medical records can be extremely harmful if leaked without someone’s knowledge, removing this content is a good choice for Google. The Guardian says in December 2016, a leak by a pathology lab in India resulted in more than 43,000 medical records being listed on the search engine, including patient names and HIV blood results. The records were later taken down.
For more information on Google’s removal of medical records, click here.
Photo Credit: Katarzyna Białasiewicz