For the longest time ever, Google had adopted a laissez faire approach when it came to policing the web and search results, but as Google started to grow and become the default search engine for many, governments and various agencies have started to pressure the company to start being more “responsible” with what kind of search results it put up online.
This has resulted in Google creating categories of content which they would not display in search results, for example revenge porn, content that has been flagged as copyright, and so on. Now in a report from Bloomberg, Google has quietly added a new category and that comes in the form of personal medical records.
This change can be found on Google’s policy page in which a new line that reads, “confidential, personal medical records of private people,” was added. A Google spokeswoman confirmed these changes to Bloomberg and stated that information is only pulled when they get specific requests from individuals, which we guess is kind of like DMCA takedown requests.
While we’re sure that most clinics and hospitals won’t publish patient records online for public consumption, Bloomberg notes how back in 2016 a pathology lab in India accidentally uploaded records of their patients online, which Google then indexed in its search results automatically. So by having this policy, Google can at least reassure users that should their medical records somehow get published online, they can at least have it taken down from search results on Google.