Health-related web searches could be tracked, researchers warn

A research letter in JAMA is getting some attention in the news:

New research has raised alarm about threats to privacy posed by patients searching for health-related information on the internet.

Marco Huesch, a researcher at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, searched for “depression,” “herpes” and “cancer” on various health-related websites and observed that the data was being tracked.

“Confidentiality is threatened by the leakage of information to third parties” through trackers on the websites themselves or on consumers’ computers, he wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Read more on Sydney Morning Herald.

You can find Huesch’s research letter here (subscription required).

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