Did Private NHS Records Appear Online?

By Gary Cutlack on at

A company selling its search products caused some internet privacy ripples yesterday, after what appeared to be data about the treatment of some NHS patients was discovered as part of a map generated through search terms.

The concept of Earthware's service is to let healthcare workers see where individuals have gone for their treatment, with the data map stats apparently harvested from a database of "millions" of patient records. The problem being that local searches for specific treatments could lead to people being identified, in breach of data protection rules.

Earthware, maker of the map, immediately pulled it after suspicions were raised, only later in the day coming up with a statement claiming its search results actually used mock data. But then, if it used mock data, what was the possible benefit in charging people to perform the searches? [Guardian]