Washington passes law requiring consent before companies collect health data

A brand new Washington state regulation would require firms to obtain a person’s specific consent earlier than they will acquire, share, or promote their well being knowledge. Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed the My Well being, My Information invoice into regulation on Thursday, giving customers the suitable to withdraw consent at any time and have their knowledge deleted.

The regulation ought to assist protect customers’ well being knowledge from the businesses and organizations not included below the HIPAA Privateness Rule, which prevents sure medical suppliers from disclosing “individually identifiable” well being data with out consent. The HIPAA Privateness Rule doesn’t cowl lots of the well being apps and websites that acquire medical knowledge, permitting them to freely acquire and promote this data to advertisers.

Beneath Washington’s new regulation, which comes into impact in March 2024, medical apps and websites should ask a person for permission to gather their well being knowledge in a nondeceptive method that “brazenly communicates a client’s freely given, knowledgeable, opt-in, voluntary, particular, and unambiguous written consent.” The positioning and apps should additionally disclose what sort of knowledge they plan to gather and in the event that they plan to promote it. Moreover, the invoice will block medical suppliers from utilizing geofencing to gather location details about the sufferers that go to the power.

“My Well being, My Information protects the independence and dignity of people after they make healthcare selections,” says Consultant Vandana Slatter (D), one of many invoice’s backers. “It prevents vulnerabilities within the technological period which might be getting used to focus on and exploit customers who might not be conscious of the huge knowledge that every thing from our watches and telephones acquire.”

As extra states ban entry to abortion care, sufferers in these states have gotten more and more involved about native authorities accessing their on-line knowledge when visiting or trying to find an out-of-state abortion clinic. That’s a part of the explanation why lawmakers are engaged on payments that will enhance privateness protections on a nationwide stage. Final month, Democrats launched the Upholding Protections for Well being and On-line Location Information (UPHOLD) Privateness Act that will bar firms from promoting non-public well being data, whereas Congress additionally held a listening to on the American Information Privateness and Safety Act (ADPPA), which provides customers the flexibility to request the deletion of their knowledge.

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