Google, in their quest to roll out more and more utilities in their information age, has come up with yet another interface. This is Google Health. Google Health lets you organize your medical records, gather medical records from pharmacies, doctors and hospitals and in general is a functional system to store and share your medical history.
The first thing should cross your mind as it did for me, was the matter of privacy. Google says they will keep your information secure and private, yet there are some inherent insecurities behind the idea to me. Namely, you are just putting very sensitive information up on the web. Whether it be when you submit data, have data sent in between hospitals, or even when you let your info be shared with someone else, there are basic internet vulnerabilities that will allow extremely private info to pass through very public channels. There’s a whole slew of security questions revolving around any web based exchange. Could some malicious person steal some data during the exchange? Could someone hack into your medical records? It at least seems like those could be much likelier questions to come up if people really embrace this system.
I personally think the whole thing just has the smell a little bit close to Big Brother. For all of Google’s efforts to bring efficacious tools to us, this seems like something that might be shying towards too close to home. Letting Google store your information (even if they promise they don’t look at it) still involves a middle man. Who is to say that a legal situation couldn’t put the government against Google, and pressuring them for sensitive information? Do you really want that to become a possibility? The long arm of the law has proven to be capable of a lot of things when the need arises, I’m just not sure I want to give them another avenue for them to get information about me.
Whether or not you love the idea of hate it, it’s yet another step in the direction of a totally online universe. Everything we deal with could very well one day just all be on the internet. It’s up to each person to decide what they feel comfortable with or not because I have a feeling that things like Google Health are only going to become more common and wide reaching.