Severe ME Day of Understanding and Remembrance: Aug. 8, 2017
Determined to paper the Internet with articles about ME, Jody Smith brings some additional focus to Severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Day of Understanding and Remembrance on Aug. 8, 2017 ...
Discuss the article on the Forums.

Your privacy online: Health information at serious risk of abuse researchers warn

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Ecoclimber, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. Ecoclimber

    Ecoclimber Senior Member

    Messages:
    980
    Likes:
    2,403

    Your privacy online: Health information at serious risk of abuse researchers warn

    Date:
    February 23, 2015
    Source:
    University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication
    Summary:
    There is a significant risk to your privacy whenever you visit a health-related web page, some researchers warn. An analysis of over 80,000 such web pages shows that nine out of ten visits result in personal health information being leaked to third parties, including online advertisers and data brokers.


    An analysis of over 80,000 such web pages shows that nine out of ten visits result in personal health information being leaked to third parties, including online advertisers and data brokers.

    Credit: Image courtesy of University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communicati


    There is a significant risk to your privacy whenever you visit a health-related web page. An analysis of over 80,000 such web pages shows that nine out of ten visits result in personal health information being leaked to third parties, including online advertisers and data brokers.

    This puts users are risk for two significant reasons: first, people's health interests may be publicly identified along with their names. This could happen because criminals get ahold of the information, it is accidentally leaked, or data brokers collect and sell the information. Second, many online marketers use algorithmic tools which automatically cluster people into groups with names like "target" and "waste." Predictably, those in the "target" category are extended favorable discounts at retailers and advance notice of sales. Given that 62 percent of bankruptcies are the result of medical expenses, it is possible anyone visiting medical websites may be grouped into the "waste" category and denied favorable offers.

    For individuals, this means profiles are built based on web page visits, potentially resulting in someone being labeled a commercial risk due to the fact that they have used a site like WebMD.com or CDC.gov to look up health information for themselves, a family member, or a friend. Given that data brokers are free to sell any information they collect regarding visits to health websites, those visiting such sites are potentially at risk of being discriminated against by potential employers, retailers, or anybody else with the money to buy the data.

    These findings are reported in the article "Privacy Implications of Health Information Seeking on the Web," appearing in the March 2015 issue of Communication of the ACM....

    ....."Personal health information -- historically protected by the Hippocratic Oath -- has suddenly become the property of private corporations who may sell it to the highest bidder or accidentally misuse it to discriminate against the ill," Libert said. "As health information seeking has moved online, the privacy of a doctor's office has been traded in for the silent intrusion of behavioral tracking.".....

    Story Source:

    The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

    Cite This Page:

    University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication. "Your privacy online: Health information at serious risk of abuse, researchers warn." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 February 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150223122647.htm>.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2015
    Sean likes this.

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page