Personal medical records showing up in search results is a big problem, and now Google is addressing it. The Internet giant will start pulling these records from results when someone asks them to, helping individuals maintain privacy in a world where hackers are increasingly breaching medical facilities’ networks. This marks a change in policy for the company, which recently updated its policy page to reflect the new removal category.
The change was first spotted by Bloomberg, which notes that Google’s policy page now says it removes ‘confidential, personal medical records of private people’ from search results. However, someone has to submit a request for these search results to be pulled before it will happen. The company does the same for results containing certain other types of content.
As the company’s policy page notes, Google will remove search results containing national ID numbers, such as Social Security numbers, as well as ‘revenge porn,’ credit card and bank account numbers, signature images, and now it also pulls medical records.
Finding your medial records
How do you know if your own personal medical records have made their way online? Performing a Google search of your name is the best way to know; if you find a result that contains them, copy down the URL. Such leaks tend to happen after hospitals and doctor offices suffer data breaches.
Ask Google to Remove it
If you do find copies of your medical records via a Google Search, you can ask Google to remove it via this page; scroll to the bottom and select ‘Remove information you see in Google Search.’ Answer the questions Google poses next, ultimately providing it with a link.
If that page doesn’t quite fit your needs for one reason or another, you can head over to this page, where Google gives you more options on the type of content you want removed.