​Google now removes medical records from search results

Google adds private medical records to the list of results it may remove.

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Removing medical records from Google results won't remove private records from the web, but it will have an impact.

Image: Getty Images

Google has updated its removal policies with the new category of private medical records.

The search giant quietly updated its search result removal policy page on Thursday, as noted in a report by Bloomberg. Google confirmed the policy update.

The document now says Google may remove "confidential, personal medical records of private people".

Google typically doesn't remove results unless it's required by law, as with DMCA piracy takedowns and Europe's right to be forgotten, or when the results link to content that causes clear harm to users.

Other types of data it will remove from results include financial data, such as credit-card numbers, images of signatures, and national ID numbers.

The company started removing revenge porn from search results in 2015, shortly after Twitter implemented a similar policy to address the problem. Google will remove the result if a person did not consent to content of them nude or in a sexual act being made public.

While removing medical records from Google results won't remove private records from the web, Google is so central that it will have an impact in instances where medical records are leaked online.

Google's role came under the spotlight in December after over 40,000 sensitive pathology reports were left online by an Indian healthcare provider.

As noted at the time by security researcher Troy Hunt, Google not only indexed the medical records, which made the files easier to find, but also cached the contents of the files.

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