Warner Expresses Concern Over Meta's Collection of Sensitive Health Information - Press Releases

Warner Expresses Concern Over Meta’s Collection of Sensitive Health Information – Press Releases

WASHINGTON — At this time, U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA) wrote to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressing concern and requesting extra data concerning Meta’s observe of amassing details about the person well being by means of monitoring apps.

Within the letter, Senator Warner highlighted the necessity for person privateness and elevated transparency about how person information is collected on-line, which has turn into more and more vital as the usage of telehealth appointments, on-line appointment scheduling and digital report holding elevated exponentially over the course. of the pandemic.

“As we more and more transfer healthcare on-line, we have to make sure that robust safeguards are in place round the usage of these applied sciences to guard delicate healthcare data,” wrote Senator Warner.

Particularly, Senator Warner drew consideration to Meta Pixel, a monitoring software that sends Meta a packet of knowledge every time a person clicks a button to schedule a health care provider’s appointment – at with out the data of the particular person making the appointment.

He continued, “I’m disturbed by the current revelation that the Meta Pixel was put in on a variety of hospital web sites – together with password-protected affected person portals – and the sending of delicate well being data to Meta when a affected person made an appointment on-line. This information included extremely private well being information, together with sufferers’ medical situations, appointment topics, docs’ names, e mail addresses, cellphone numbers cellphone numbers, IP addresses and different particulars of sufferers’ medical appointments.

Senator Warner additionally famous allegations that this information gathering and harvesting observe has been utilized by Meta to focus on ads on their platforms. In August this 12 months, two lawsuits have been filed towards the corporate for allegedly illegal assortment and sharing of well being information with out consent.

To deal with these considerations, Senator Warner requested Meta to reply the next questions:

  1. What data does Meta entry or obtain instantly from Meta Pixel, presently or beforehand?
  2. How does Meta retailer the data acquired through the Meta Pixel?
  3. Has the data Meta acquired from the Meta Pixel ever been used to tell focused ads on Meta’s platforms?
  4. How does Meta deal with delicate data it receives from third events that violate its enterprise tips?
  5. What steps does Meta take to guard delicate well being data, particularly with third-party distributors? Since The Markup’s report was revealed in June, what extra steps have been taken?
  6. In response to the report launched final 12 months by the New York State Division of Monetary Companies, Meta stated the screening system “will not be but working with full accuracy.” What enhancements have been made to make the filtering system extra environment friendly? How does Meta take a look at and consider the filtering system’s skill to establish delicate well being data?
  7. The place required by legislation, does Meta all the time adjust to all discover necessities when the Meta Pixel processes or transmits protected data, within the method and throughout the time required by such legal guidelines?

Senator Warner has been a pacesetter in Congress for elevated transparency and protections round person information and privateness. He launched the Dashboard Act, which works to extend transparency round information assortment; the DETOUR lawwhich might ban corporations like Meta from utilizing misleading darkish schemes to govern customers into handing over their information; and the Public Health Emergencies Privacy Actthat might set up robust and enforceable privateness and information safety rights for well being data.

A replica of the letter could be discovered here and decrease.

October 20, 2022

Expensive Mr. Zuckerberg:

I’m writing to you as we speak to precise my concern over Meta’s assortment of delicate well being data by means of the Meta Pixel monitoring software with out person consent.

As you already know, I’ve lengthy labored to guard person privateness and enhance transparency about how person information is collected and shared. This mission is extra pressing than ever because the previous two years have proven us the significance of healthcare know-how, with many counting on digital well being data, on-line appointment reserving and digital affected person portals. sufferers to obtain care in the course of the pandemic. As we more and more transfer healthcare on-line, we should make sure that we have now robust safeguards in place round the usage of these applied sciences to guard delicate well being data.

I’m disturbed by the current revelation that the Meta Pixel has been put in on a variety of hospital web sites – together with password protected affected person portals – and the sending of delicate well being data to Meta when a affected person made an appointment on-line. This information included extremely private well being information, together with sufferers’ medical situations, appointment topics, docs’ names, e mail addresses, cellphone numbers, IP addresses, and different particulars about affected person medical appointments. Moreover, current allegations that Meta used Meta Pixel information to tell focused ads on Meta’s platforms are of explicit concern. Use of the Meta Pixel is widespread, because the software was put in within the methods of 33 of the nation’s prime 100 hospitals and contained in the affected person portals of seven well being methods on the time of the survey.

Sadly, privateness points involving the Meta Pixel are nothing new, as there was prior assessment of the Meta Pixel exterior of the healthcare context. Experiences earlier this 12 months revealed that the Pixel was sending private data to Meta that had been collected from the Free Utility for Federal Pupil Assist (FAFSA) on the Federal Assist Workplace web site. for College students (FSA) throughout the US Division of Schooling. The info despatched to Meta consists of the applicant’s first and final title, e mail addresses and postal codes. Moreover, this isn’t the primary time your organization has been concerned within the illicit assortment of delicate well being data. In 2021, an investigation by the New York State Division of Monetary Companies revealed that Meta (then Fb) was amassing information about customers of a number of well being and wellness apps, together with the outcomes of readings of the blood strain and coronary heart price, interval and fertility monitoring, being pregnant standing and different deeply private data.

Meta’s personal enterprise tips state that the enterprise “[doesn’t] wish to ship web sites or functions [Meta] delicate details about folks”, together with delicate well being data, which Meta identifies as medical situations, sexual and reproductive well being, psychological well being, particulars concerning medical gadgets and trackers, therapies, outcomes exams, physique specs or cycles, therapy areas and different healthcare-related information. But, on this most up-to-date case and as we have now seen beforehand, Meta continues to entry this extremely delicate data.

It is vital that know-how corporations like Meta take their function in defending customers’ well being information significantly. With out significant motion, I concern that these persistent privateness violations and dangerous makes use of of well being information will turn into the brand new established order in healthcare and public well being.

To deal with the considerations raised on this letter, I ask that you simply reply to the next questions by November 3, 2022:

  1. What data does Meta entry or obtain instantly from Meta Pixel, presently or beforehand?
  2. How does Meta retailer the data acquired through the Meta Pixel?
  3. Has the data Meta acquired from the Meta Pixel ever been used to tell focused ads on Meta’s platforms?
  4. How does Meta deal with delicate data it receives from third events that violate its enterprise tips?
  5. What steps does Meta take to guard delicate well being data, particularly with third-party distributors? Since The Markup’s report was revealed in June, what extra steps have been taken?
  6. In response to the report launched final 12 months by the New York State Division of Monetary Companies, Meta stated the screening system “will not be but working with full accuracy.” What enhancements have been made to make the filtering system extra environment friendly? How does Meta take a look at and consider the filtering system’s skill to establish delicate well being data?
  7. The place required by legislation, does Meta all the time adjust to all discover necessities when the Meta Pixel processes or transmits protected data, within the method and throughout the time required by such legal guidelines?

I stay up for your immediate responses.

Sincerely,

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