The NHS has come under fire from online security experts, who have responded angrily to the discovery that the service has allowed Facebook to track users of its NHS Choices website.
Research Company Garlik discovered that the NHS Choices website had been linked with Facebook connect, allowing users to “like” and share articles. However, this also allows Facebook to trawl through the data and pin-point the information of people researching the details of embarrassing illnesses.
Mischa Tuffield, the Garlik software developer who discovered the goings on, said: “The NHS is sharing this information out liberally and the users don’t know it and can’t opt out of sharing even if they did.”
Illustrating the danger users face, he added: “So a young mother is logged on to Facebook talking to friends and is also looking for some advice about depression on NHS Choices and bingo – although she doesn’t know it – Facebook now knows she has looked at this page,”
The NHS retaliated to Tuffield’s criticism by claiming that it was the responsibility of users themselves to sign out of social networks before using the NHS site.