Health Websites Are Sharing Medical Data With Google, Facebook, Amazon


Health websites are now sharing your sensitive medical data with Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

Popular health websites including WebMD, Healthline, health insurance group Bupa, and parenting site Babycentre are sharing private, personal medical data with big tech companies, according to an investigation by the Financial Times.

The data includes medical diagnoses, symptoms, prescriptions, and menstrual and fertility information, that is being sold to companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Oracle and smaller data brokers and advertising technology firms, like Scorecard and OpenX.

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According to a recent report, many popular health websites such as WebMD are sharing private medical data with the Masters of the Universe.

A recent investigation by the Financial Times has revealed that popular health websites are sharing users’ private and personal medical data with big tech firms such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook as well as smaller data brokers and advertising firms such as Scorecard and OpenX.

The Financial Times analyzed over 100 health and medical websites including WebMD, Healthline, health insurance group Bupa, and parenting site Babycentre. The FT found that 79 percent of these sites used tracking cookies on visitors that could be utilized by third-party firms across the internet. This was done without users’ permissions making it illegal under E.U. GDPR guidelines.

The most common place for the data to be sent was found to be Google’s advertising arm DoubleClick which showed up on 78 percent of the sites that were tested by the Financial Times. From the FT investigation, the data shared included:

Drug names entered into Drugs.com were sent to Google’s ad unit DoubleClick.

Symptoms inputted into WebMD’s symptom checker, and diagnoses received, including “drug overdose” were shared with Facebook.

Menstrual and ovulation cycle information from BabyCentre ended up with Amazon Marketing, among others.

Keywords such as “heart disease” and “considering abortion” were shared from sites like the British Heart Foundation, Bupa and Healthline to companies including Scorecard Research and Blue Kai (owned by software giant Oracle).

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Is anyone really shocked by this? Anyone who puts their personal information on a “health website” must assume that information is being harvested.

Anyone that uses Google for anything is a fool. Yippy is your friend. It’s so nice not to have ads follow me around everywhere on every tech device I own! I Google nothing unless I’m forced to download an app. They need to be broken up.

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