Google Health adless; privacy backers wary

Google Inc. won’t sell ads to support a new Internet service that stores personal medical information, CEO Eric Schmidt said Thursday in the search giant’s first detailed comments about a venture that has raised privacy concerns.

…The bigger problem with these online health systems, privacy advocates say, is that they aren’t covered by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly called HIPAA. The 1996 privacy law requires patient notification when their records are being subpoenaed, among other things.

“Once you take sensitive health care information outside of the health care sector, it loses important protections that people have come to expect,” said Pam Dixon, executive director of the non-profit World Privacy Forum. “Your physician has taken a Hippocratic Oath, and they are bound to have your best interests in mind. A publicly traded company is supposed to have shareholders in mind first.”

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