In Scotland a nurse has been suspended for posting pictures of patients during operations on facebook.
The location of the pictures was identified by a NHS logo in the background. Social Media is great, and I know that the last post here was about marketing yourself and showing that you are an expert in your field, but that was not clever.
It should be noted that the patients were not identifiable in these pictures, which were snapped in a Glasgow hospital. It is also claimed that most other staff (if not all) were unaware that the pictures were being taken. That strikes me as a somewhat strange claim in a theatre environment.
Back in October of last year Facebook stepped up their security, filling in some security holes that allowed people to access photos in private profiles. Even in a protected profile, any pictures on Facebook can not be assumed to be secure though. They are visible to friends, who can copy and disperse them further. In general it should be assumed that anything you ever put up on the internet is not secure. What’s more it should be assumed that anything you put on the internet is there for ever. This applies to data you delete too. There will be caches of old information that retain a copy of deleted information.
The Scottish nurse that posted the pictures on Facebook is suspended pending an internal investigation, but it would be surprising if he/she is not hung out to dry for such a breach of confidentiality, even if the patients were not identified.