Identity, Data Security, Privacy

Third-party data sharing done by most US hospital websites

Breach exposes medical data of 9 million patients

Ninety-six percent of U.S. non-federal acute care hospital websites shared users' information with third-party organizations and data brokers, while only 56% of the 71% of sites with privacy policies explicitly disclosed sharing of user information with third parties, reports The Register.

Almost all hospital websites allowed user data transmission to Google, while many others shared information with Meta, a study by University of Philadelphia researchers published in JAMA Network Open revealed. Adobe, Microsoft, Oracle, Azure, and Verizon, as well as data broker Acxiom have also been recipients of data from hospital websites, according to the report. The findings also showed that IP addresses were the most commonly collected and shared data, followed by web browser names and versions and the web pages visited by users.

"Why do hospitals have tracking on their webpages? They're doing it because this stuff is ubiquitous across the whole web. They're doing it because there's an entire tens of billions of dollars ad economy," said researcher Dr. Ari Friedman.

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