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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Google broke Canada’s privacy laws with targeted health ads

This story is currently receiving a lot of media attention currently and I reposted they headline and story from The Globe and Mail:


I left the word "watchdog" off the headline because the Canadian Privacy Commissioner isn't a watchdog. There is no privacy police but there is a privacy policy. Not a police dog, but a policy dog. Google might pay a fine? No problem for Google probably. Not many privacy statutes have teeth is what they say.

This story reminds me again that I want to write more about the face-off between Public Health and Consumer Health. This is a prime illustration: Google is consumer health using targeted health ads based on your browsing search inquiries, and the Government of Canada is Public Health, the collective servant of protective measures based on principles that come somewhere other than making a profit - serving the common good by way of utilitarian ethics.

Most of the time when it comes to health information, I am highly sympathetic to "Dr. Google".  I will pick up this thread later because I want to say more about how I see the differences between Public Health and Consumer Health will have an impact on informatics.

If anyone wants me to remove the AdSense ads from this blog, because you are offended by the personally invasive use of targeted ads relating to your personal health search on Google, please let me know. That's the way the cookie crumbles, as they say.