Health Information Management

Google admits to privacy breach

HIM-HIPAA Insider, March 16, 2009

A bug in Google’s online software led to a privacy breach where some online documents fell into the hands of unauthorized users, the Web search engine giant disclosed March 7, in a Google Docs Blog post.

The privacy breach affected only a small fraction of the documents in the software system—less than 0.05%, according to Google—and it notified affected clients and fixed the glitch March 6.

With the federal government supporting adoption of EHRs, software privacy breaches are a prime concern for covered healthcare entities.

Users who had tried to change their sharing settings on multiple presentations and documents at once led to Google’s system sharing that information with unauthorized users.

Google says it is not taking the breach lightly.

“We're sorry for the trouble this has caused,” Jennifer Mazzon, Google Docs product manager, wrote on Google Docs Blog. “We understand our users' concerns (in fact, we were affected by this bug ourselves) and we're treating this very seriously.”

 

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