“Google’s privacy nightmare just starting,” so declared Om Malik, noting a Washington Post story of a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) seeking an injunction against the announced Google purchase of DoubleClick.
But no, the present privacy backlash against Google is not a first, far from it.
The Center for Digital Democracy and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group expressed their privacy concerns to the FTC last November in a “Complaint and Request for Inquiry and Injunctive Relief Concerning Unfair and Deceptive Online Marketing Practices.”
Google was cited, along with Yahoo and Microsoft:
The policies governing consumer privacy on the Interent have failed to keep pace with the developments that continue to re-shape the online world…
Consumers entering this new online world are neither informed of nor prepared for these technologies and techniques—including data gathering and mining, audience targeting and tracking—that render users all but defenseless before the sophisticated assault of new-media marketing…
Current privacy disclosure policies are totally inadequate, failing to effectively inform users how and what data are being collected and used.
Last month, Google trumpeted it is “taking steps to further improve our privacy practices.” WHY, though? Because it was under pressure from “leading privacy stakeholders in Europe.”
Google hardly flinched, however, as I dissected in Google CEO wants your personal information.
Personal information includes individuals’ medical histories, and Google is setting its sights on those as well.
Adam Bosworth, Google Vice President Engineering (sometimes known as “Archtiect, Google Health”), “Connecting Americans to Their Health Care: Empowered Consumers, Personal Health Records and Emerging Technologies,” December 7, 2006:
Every ill person needs a “health URL,” an online meeting place where their caregivers, with express permission from the ill person, can come together, pass on notes to each other, review each others’ notes, look at the medical data, and suggest courses of action…online Web applications 101.
The Google cloud will undoubtedly soon be to the "Web applications 101" rescue. In Google’s medical push I trace Bosworth’s mission, a medical one, evangelizing that “increased and more targeted use of technology will help improve healthcare for all.”
How so? Personal Health Records, courtesy of the Google cloud.Bosworth has top honors at the American Medical Informatics Association conference next month, delivering the keynote address at the opening session: “Putting Health into the Patient's Hands, Consumerism and Health Care”:
Consumers are more and more active when it comes to their health. Every day an enormous number of people use Google to learn more about an illness, drug or a treatment, or simply to research a condition or diagnosis. How do you make patients more empowered and informed about their healthcare decisions?
Google is a “Sponsor” of the meeting, at a cost of up to $25,000, designed to position Google as an “Informatics and Health Information Technology leader.”
A key track of the conference is “Personal Health Records”:
Personal Health Records (PHRs) have recently been proclaimed “the hottest thing in HIT right now.” The role of the first generation of PHR in the broader scheme of electronic health record systems, what it looks like now, and what future PHR might be if conceptualized as part of an individual's personal health system and how it will interact in a fully-functioning interoperable health system.
Google, of course, wants to “organize” ALL the “world’s information,” in the Google cloud. Why wouldn’t it seek to be at the heart of “a fully-functioning interoperable health system”?
In Beware: Google cloud platform exposed I analyze privacy implications of Google’s new “Web History” service and data security risks of its cloud based Web services, Google Apps:
Rational people and companies are rightly concerned about housing their information in the Google cloud due to risks concerning data integrity, security, privacy, access, control and manipulation.
Below is a visual on the implications of prospective “Personal Health Records,” sponsored by Google, an excerpt of a medical student’s blog (Over my med body) post, with Google “content” as “useful” as the medical student's writings.
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