November 23, 2020

AP Reports “Government Health Care Website Quietly Sharing Personal Data”

This is very bad to say the least.  It’s unethical, perhaps even illegal, and makes you ask what else is being shared.

From the AP:

The government’s health insurance website is quietly sending consumers’ personal data to private companies that specialize in advertising and analyzing Internet data for performance and marketing, The Associated Press has learned.

The scope of what is disclosed or how it might be used was not immediately clear, but it can include age, income, ZIP code, whether a person smokes, and if a person is pregnant. It can include a computer’s Internet address, which can identify a person’s name or address when combined with other information collected by sophisticated online marketing or advertising firms.

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There is no evidence that personal information has been misused. But connections to dozens of third-party tech firms were documented by technology texperts who analyzed HealthCare.gov and then confirmed by AP. A handful of the companies were also collecting highly specific information. That combination is raising concerns.

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Leading lawmakers on Tuesday asked the administration to explain how it oversees the data firms to make sure no personally identifiable information is improperly used or shared.

Read the Complete Article (857 Words)

UPDATE: For more on this Report Including Specifics on What’s Going On, See this Post from EFF

The post also includes info on the companies receiving the data. Btw, the list includes Yahoo, Twitter, Google, DoubleClick, and YouTube. Both DoubleClick and YouTube are owned by Google.

Comment: It’s been shown that with enough data points a specific person can be identified without using personally identifiable info.

To easily and quickly block many trackers we suggest using tools like Ghostery, Disconnect.me, Privacy Badger, and the privacy add-on with AdBlock Plus. All of these tools are free to download and use.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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