Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
  1. Amazon Dash Smart Shelf
    15:16 Deals

    I’m obsessed with this Amazon gadget you’ve never heard of – and it&#821…

  2. Prime Day Deals 2021
    04:05 Deals

    Amazon Prime Day deals 2021: See hundreds of the best deals right here

  3. Prime Day Nest Thermostat Deal
    16:28 Deals

    The newest Nest Thermostat rarely goes on sale, but it’s $99.98 for Prime Day

  4. Free Amazon Deals
    06:27 Deals

    Get 6 months of unlimited music streaming with a $15 Echo Auto or $80 Echo Buds

  5. Best Prime Day Deals 2021
    13:41 Deals

    Prime Day secrets: All of Amazon’s deepest discounts are on this one hidden page

It’s almost impossible to stop Google and Facebook from knowing about your health-related searches

August 3rd, 2015 at 10:15 PM
Google Facebook Health Information Privacy

Keeping Google and Facebook from knowing about your health-related Internet searches is not easy. SciLogs directs our attention to a new study conducted by Tim Libert at the Annenberg School for Communication that found “91% of health-related pages relay the URL to third parties, often unbeknownst to the user, and in 70% of the cases, the URL contains sensitive information such as ‘HIV’ or ‘cancer’ which is sufficient to tip off these third parties that you have been searching for information related to a specific disease.”

FROM EARLIER: 10 more new jailbreak tweaks that are making me jealous my iPhone isn’t jailbroken

In some ways, this isn’t too surprising. If you do a Google search for a certain disease, Google will obviously know that you’re searching for it. But even just typing a full web address into Chrome’s search bar will often let Google know what you’re searching for since many of those web addresses also contain the name of the disease that you want to learn more about.

And let’s say you don’t search through Google and just find a link to health information through privacy-focused search engines like DuckDuckGo — there’s still a good chance that Facebook will know you’re searching for information on a certain disease. Why? Because websites such as the Center for Disease Control’s HIV information page contain “Share” and “Like” buttons for Facebook, which are apparently enough to let Facebook know that you’ve visited the page even if you never click on them.

Websites such as WebMD, meanwhile, send user information to as many as 34 different domains.

Libert says that government and nonprofit websites need to do a better job of auditing their code to make sure that information on which users are clicking on which health-related pages aren’t shared with third parties. Check out a quick video of him describing his rather disturbing findings below.

Popular News