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ICO Investigates NHS Data Sharing With Facebook

The Information Commissioner's Office has asked the Department of Health to clarify details about its data sharing agreement with Facebook.

Garlik sofftware developer Mischa Tuffield had highlighted that NHS Choices features the Facebook ‘Like’ button, which allows the social networking giant to collect information from visitors to the site, including time of visit, pages views and technical information.

The Department of Health had said that the reason for collecting such personal information is to ensure the effectiveness of the NHS Choices website and help identify ways to improve it. It has also advised users to ensure that they sign out of social networks before visiting NHS Choices.

The ICO has not begun a formal investigation into the matter, but has asked for an explanation from the Department of Health.

In a statement to V3, the ICO said that there “are few things more sensitive to an individual than their health information."

"We have contacted the Department for Health to find out whether any details of individuals consulting the NHS Choices website are available to third parties."