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AG Wants Answers on Health Sites’ Data Mining Practices

ONLINE PRIVACY—U.S.

July 15, 2013

The New York Times reports on Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s recent inquiry into the data-mining practices of popular health websites such as WebMD and Health.com. Madigan has sent letters to the sites’ executives citing concerns about the dissemination of data related to web surfers’ health-related searches, the report states. “Health-related information, which would be protected from disclosure when said in a doctor’s office, can be captured, shared and sold when entered into a Web site,” Madigan wrote, adding that consumers likely overlook such concerns if information on disclosures is buried in privacy policies. One researcher recently found third-party entities often track patients searching health-related terms. (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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