3 House lawmakers are launching an investigation into the assortment and sale of individual wellbeing info similar to abortion by data brokers and period-monitoring applications.
They are trying to find data from five data broker providers and 5 health-tracking application organizations about their collection, retention and sale of personal overall health details, according to letters sent Thursday night by Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Raja Krishnamoorthi, chair and member of the Household Oversight Committee, along with Rep. Sara Jacobs. The organizations have until eventually July 21 to respond, for every the letters, which ended up viewed by CNN Business.
The shift comes amid raising problems that personalized knowledge, this kind of as place history, overall health background, messages and queries, could be used by regulation enforcement in some states to criminalize people today trying to find or delivering abortions, after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.
A lot of tech firms have hence far declined to say how they program to reply to such requests from law enforcement. And on the net privateness authorities have recognized data brokers — which gather buyer knowledge from a variety of on-line sources and license it to third events, generally advertisers — as a notably vulnerable region mainly because legislation enforcement could possibly buy consumer info somewhat than getting to concern a official legal ask for.
The businesses contacted by lawmakers consist of details broker corporations SafeGraph, Digital Envoy, Pacer.ai, Gravy Analytics and Babel Road, as properly as wellness-tracker application operators Flo Wellbeing, Glow, BioWink, GP International and Digitalchemy Ventures. In modern months, some time period and fertility monitoring apps, which include Flo, have declared an “anonymous” mode that they say will support safeguard customers.
In the letters, the lawmakers questioned data brokers, for case in point, for information and facts related to their revenues from the sale of location information and a record of purchasers of information and facts related to household preparing clinics or abortion services. They also asked the wellness-monitoring apps for “documents and communications relating to the precise or prospective production” of own reproductive or sexual well being data, possibly voluntarily or in response to a lawful request, as well as communications about this sort of facts with condition and neighborhood governments.
“The assortment of sensitive info could pose really serious threats to all those trying to get reproductive care as properly as to companies of these types of care, not only by facilitating intrusive govt surveillance, but also by putting persons at chance of harassment, intimidation, and even violence,” the lawmakers wrote.
Congress has been thinking of new legislation to protect American’s own well being knowledge in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, and a team of senators very last month released a invoice that would ban info brokers from providing health and fitness and location info. “As Congress considers legislative reforms to guarantee the privateness of private reproductive and sexual health info, we are analyzing the practices of information brokers and other companies concerning the collection, dissemination, and sale of this non-public details,” Maloney, Krishnamoorthi and Jacobs explained in their Thursday letters.