Google Starts Removing Private Medical Records from Search Results

Published Date : Jun 26, 2017

Google has begun eliminating personal medical records from its search result. On Thursday, the company added the clause – “confidential, personal medical records of private people” – to its policy page, where it usually lists the information it eliminates from its search results. Before this, Google had pulled web pages with personal financial information, such as bank account and credit card numbers, and with content that violates copyright laws. In 2015, the company had bent its longstanding laissez-faire policy by removing "revenge porn" – sexually explicit images or videos uploaded without consent. According to a Google spokeswoman, such information is removed only when the search engine gets special requests from individuals.

The leaking of private medical records can have detrimental effects on the victims, both emotionally and financially, with their private lives exposed. In December 2016, an Indian pathology lab mistakenly uploaded the records of more than 43,000 patients containing highly sensitive information, including their names and HIV blood test results. Those records were indexed in search results on Google.

Google Needs to Keep Check on YouTube to Restrict Spread of Extreme Content

Google has also recently altered its stringent search ranking system to filter fake news or misleading articles. The company has often received criticism for hosting and promoting such content in search and services such as YouTube. The site has been consistently used as a platform to spread extremist content. Besides this, its ad network has been multiple times reported to fund websites dedicated to spreading hate speeches and propaganda. Google introduced new norms for YouTube to tackle the hosting and promotion of terrorist material.