Google to crack down on medical records in search results

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Google added "confidential, personal medical records of private people" to its removal policy, signaling the company's first step to eliminating sensitive health information from its search results.

The tech giant updated the list of content it reserves the right to remove from search results June 22, according to Bloomberg. Under the revision, private medical records will be considered "sensitive personal information," which also includes information like individuals' Social Security, bank account and credit card numbers.

Prior to June 22, Google's most recent change to its removal policy took place in 2015, when it added a category related to "nude or sexually explicit images that were uploaded or shared without ... consent," according to The Guardian.

The decision follows several information security incidents that demonstrated how medical records may be posted online. A pathology lab in India unintentionally uploaded more than 43,000 patient records in December, according to Bloomberg, which were indexed in Google's search results.

The removal policy targets personal information that "creates significant risks of identity theft, financial fraud or other specific harms," according to Google. The search engine applies its right to remove content on a case-by-case basis, in part by reviewing individual requests submitted online.

Click here to view Google's removal policy.

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