“New Congressional Bill Targets Health Data Privacy”

Preventing the Sale of Personal Data for Targeted Ads

Last year’s reversal of Roe v. Wade raised concerns about the privacy of personal health data. Healthcare services could be forced to disclose this information to the government or sell it to ad buyers. To prevent this, a new bill called the Upholding Protections for Health and Online Location Data (UPHOLD) Privacy Act was introduced. The bill aims to prohibit the sale of personally identifiable health and location data for advertising purposes.

If passed, the UPHOLD Privacy Act would protect data from users, healthcare providers, fitness tracking devices, and web browsing histories. It was introduced by Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Mazie Hirono.

Warren said in a statement that data brokers and tech firms have profited from private health and location data since the reversal of Roe. The UPHOLD Privacy Act protects consumers’ sensitive data and their right to privacy.

Big tech companies, including Google, have also been addressing health data management. Google’s Health Connect API defines rules for services that wish to access users’ device and submitted data. However, monitoring personal data usage by third parties remains challenging. For instance, BetterHelp, an online counseling company, is being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission for sharing its clients’ data with ad buyers without permission.

The UPHOLD Privacy Act is a necessary bill. However, the question remains when or if it will receive a vote.