Three U.S. senators just lately launched laws that will ban using well being knowledge for promoting and advertising and marketing functions. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) proposed the invoice, which is titled the Upholding Protections for Well being and On-line Location Knowledge (UPHOLD) Privateness Act.
The proposed laws comes amid media experiences describing how knowledge brokers are promoting data that may very well be used to determine girls who sought abortions and different reproductive well being care providers to social media corporations. It additionally comes as hospitals and digital well being startups nationwide are being accused of amassing sufferers’ on-line knowledge and sharing it with tech giants similar to Fb and Google.
If handed, the UPHOLD Privateness Act would prohibit organizations from utilizing personally identifiable well being knowledge collected from any supply — together with healthcare suppliers, wearable health trackers and net looking histories — for industrial promoting. This ban wouldn’t apply to public well being campaigns, similar to these encouraging Covid-19 vaccinations or selling testing for sexually transmitted infections.
The Act would additionally require extra disclosure restrictions on corporations’ use of well being knowledge with out consumer consent, in addition to prohibit the sale of exact location knowledge to and by knowledge brokers.
“For too lengthy corporations have profited off of People’ on-line knowledge whereas customers have been left at the hours of darkness, which is very regarding in gentle of experiences that some social media corporations acquire knowledge associated to reproductive healthcare,” Klobuchar mentioned in a press release. “By stopping using private well being data for industrial promoting and banning the sale of location knowledge, this laws will put new protections in place to safeguard People’ privateness whereas giving customers larger say over how their delicate well being knowledge is shared on-line.”
This isn’t the primary time Klobuchar has cracked down on healthcare knowledge sharing this 12 months. Final month, she and three different senators wrote letters to telehealth corporations Cerebral, Monument and Workit Well being calling on them to do a greater job of defending their sufferers’ well being knowledge. The letters expressed concern over media experiences displaying the businesses had been sharing their customers’ well being knowledge with social media platforms for promoting.
Federal departments and businesses are additionally growing their efforts to guard healthcare knowledge from misuse.
The Division of Justice and the Federal Commerce Fee just lately accused consumer-focused digital healthcare platform GoodRx of failing to inform customers that it bought their private well being data to Google, Fb and different tech corporations. Within the grievance, the FTC claimed that GoodRx violated the FTC Act and did not honor its privateness insurance policies.
To settle the case, GoodRx agreed to pay a $1.5 million penalty for failing to report its leakage of consumer knowledge to 3rd events, however didn’t admit to wrongdoing. The settlement—which have to be authorized by the federal court docket earlier than it goes into impact— bans GoodRx from sharing consumer knowledge with advertisers and requires the corporate to direct third events to delete the consumer knowledge it shared with them.
Picture: eichinger julien, Getty Photos