The internet can be a great resource, but it certainly comes at a price.
Many apps and social media platforms have come under fire recently for violating users’ privacy and putting their personal information at risk.
And now, Google is on the hot seat for another major privacy violation.
News broke recently that Google secretly accessed the personal health records of tens of millions of Americans nationwide.
Google — the world’s leading search engine — recently partnered with Ascension Health in an initiative called Project Nightingale which gives Google access to the health system’s lab results, doctor diagnoses, hospitalization records, and more.
Google is reportedly using the data in part to design new software that helps suggest different types of care for patients.
But neither doctors nor patients are being notified that medical information is being released to Google.
And shockingly enough, Google’s actions appear to be legal under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
The HIPAA rule allows hospitals to share data with business partners without patients’ knowledge under the condition that it’s ‘‘only to help the covered entity carry out its health-care functions,’’ reported the Wall Street Journal.
A spokeswoman for Google also told the Wall Street Journal that the project is, ‘‘fully compliant with federal health law and includes robust protections for patient data,’’ despite the fact users have expressed their outrage over the privacy violation.
In other words, Google doesn’t care.
But in the same Wall Street Journal article, it was reported that Ascension employees are raising their concerns about how and why the data is being collected —- and even more concerning, how it is being utilized by Google.
Google, of course, already has a track record of poor practices when it comes to protecting users’ privacy.
Google was recently ordered to pay up to $200 million in fines to resolve an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission regarding a potential violation of a children’s privacy law on YouTube, one of Google’s subsidiaries.
In addition, Google has pledged to do more to protect the users of Google voice-activated assistant devices after reports said company contractors were listening in on private conversations.
In fact, they’ve even released information about how users can better protect themselves online. https://deepstatejournal.com/2019/11/08/heres-how-to-best-protect-yourself-online/
Anytime your personal information is put on the internet — whether on social media, a search engine, or for online purchases — it can be easily accessed not only by the tech companies, but by hackers.
Unfortunately, using the internet is practically unavoidable in this day and age with it so integrated in our work and personal lives.
But there are precautions everyone can take when sharing their personal information online. https://deepstatejournal.com/2019/11/08/heres-how-to-best-protect-yourself-online/
What are some of your tips to protect your privacy on the internet? Share them with us in the comments section below.