Technology

Google scrubs medical records from search

Surgeon's hands marking woman's jaw for surgery Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Information about plastic surgery procedures was stolen in a hack attack

Medical records of private individuals will no longer be findable via a Google search, reports Bloomberg.

The news organisation noticed that the search giant had added the data type to its list of information automatically removed from search results.

Now Google will make sure "confidential" medical information cannot be found when people search.

The change comes after some medical data was put online accidentally and hackers stole some records.

Fake news filter

In May, people from the UK, Denmark, Germany and Norway who had had plastic surgery at a Lithuanian clinic got a ransom demand from hackers who stole pictures and other data from the health firm.

In December last year, an Indian laboratory wrongly uploaded records of 43,000 patients who had had blood tests for many different conditions including HIV.

Over the last 12 months, hackers have targeted health organisations, including hospitals, and data taken from them has often appeared for sale online.

A Google spokeswoman told Bloomberg that the changes only affected the lists of results people got when they carried out a search.

The types of information Google removes from its search corpus has been tweaked several times recently. Credit card details, pirated content and revenge porn have all been added to the list of excluded categories.

In addition Google, along with many other web firms, has filtered results following criticism about the legitimacy it lends misleading articles or fake news stories.

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