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Hospital websites share visitors' data with Google, Meta

April 15, 2024
The Register
Contributed by: Drex DeFord
Summary
Research from the University of Pennsylvania reveals that 96% of surveyed hospitals' websites transmit user data to third parties, including Google, Meta, and various data brokers, without consistently transparent privacy policies. This study highlights the widespread use of tracking technologies across hospital websites, often sharing sensitive visitor information with a vast array of companies. Despite the potential for legal repercussions and privacy concerns, the main driver behind this practice appears to be the ubiquity of tracking in the broader web ecosystem, spurred by a substantial online advertising economy. The researchers suggest that hospitals could leverage their resources, including collaboration with academic departments, to innovate and create a less intrusive web experience. Meanwhile, individuals are encouraged to use browser-based tools like Ghostery and Privacy Badger to protect their data from third-party tracking.
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