Resource Document on Ethical Considerations Regarding Internet Searches for Patient Information
PThe introduction of web search engines and their development in the 1990s dramatically changed the landscape of information gathering. With only a few clicks on a computer, cellphone or other device, an individual could access information on a wide range of topics in a matter of seconds, including personal information of others. To “Google” for information (i.e., to research something via Google or other search engines) has become routine in our daily endeavors. Search engines and social media such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and so on, provide a ready trove of information on people, events, places and things. They encourage individuals to post personal information on these sites that can be easily accessed by others.