Congressional Democrats introduce bill to safeguard health data

Healthcare IT News

Kat Jercich

Democratic legislators have introduced a bicameral bill to address the potential spread of personal data as COVID-related health surveillance increases.

WHY IT MATTERS

State and federal agencies have called for effective contact tracing and digital monitoring technology to attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19. Even as technology companies rise to the challenge, however, privacy and consumer advocates have expressed concerns about data security during and after the crisis. On Thursday, U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, and Mark Warner, D-Virginia, along with U.S. Reps. Anna G. Eshoo, D-California, Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, and Suzan DelBene, D-Washington, introduced a bill to require companies that collect data for public health purposes to delete the information 60 days after the emergency ends.

The legislation, dubbed the "Public Health Emergency Privacy Act," would forbid companies from using the data for "discriminatory, unrelated, or intrusive purposes" and aims to prevent the "potential misuse of health data by...

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