March 07, 2009

Can Google Health lead to worst disaster?

If you don’t reside atop the Alps or at the bottom of the sea but in a metropolis, you must have heard of and used Google. Now there is a great news for you (whether it’s good or bad depends upon your prudence). The Google Health users from this time forth shall have the power to share their online medical records. This new development happens to be a part of Google’s colossal initiative consistent with its mission to organize the world’s information, make it universally accessible and thus to leave privacy advocates speechless.

What is the efficacy of new Google Health sharing feature? It has been learnt that through it users, who have stored health information with Google, will be able to make that information accessible through a Web link sent via e-mail. Who can do the same? Well, it can be anyone provided that he/she wants to make his/her health record available to friends, family, or doctors and other medical service providers.

Is this a new war on the part of Google against the proponents of privacy? If we lend our ears to Google’s officials, this has never been the intention of Google. Nevertheless, the company has always remained fixed to organize information and make it accessible.

Whatever it is, this bizarre initiative of Google has made many frown though they are not conventional detractors. It seems that Lillie Coney, associate director with the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C. has taken strong exception to this. This has made her conclude health information is not trivial but highly sensitive and that there could be unexpected consequences to sharing health information outside of the health provider environment.

She said categorically, “People need to be very clear that once the information is shared, there may be other consequences.” “Undoing the sharing may be more problematic than most people would think.” However this has been brushed aside by Google product management director Sameer Samat. He has stated that health information sharing links only work with the e-mail account to which they’re sent and not if the message with the link has been forwarded.

But there are chances of disasters and this single aspect is exasperating people.

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