Republicans and Democrats Introduce Competing Bills Covering COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps

HIPAA Journal

Two privacy bills have been introduced relating to COVID-19 contact tracing apps that are now being considered by Congress. The competing bills, introduced by Republican and Democratic lawmakers, share some common ground and look to achieve similar aims.

The first bill, the COVID-19 Consumer Data Protection Act, was introduced by Republican senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss), John Thune (R-S.D), Jerry Moran, (R-Kan), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn) last month “to protect the privacy of consumers’ personal health information, proximity data, device data, and geolocation data during the coronavirus public health crisis.”

The bill would make it illegal for personal health information, proximity data, device data, and geolocation data to be collected unless notice was given to consumers about the purpose of collecting data and consumers are required to give their consent to the collection, processing, and transfer of their data. The bill prohibits the collection, use, or transfer of data for any secondary purposes.

The allowed purposed for the collection, processing, and transfer of data is limited to tracking the spread, signs, and symptoms of COVID-19; the collection, processing and transfer of an individual’s data to measure compliance with social distancing guidelines and other requirements related to COVID-19 imposed on individuals; and the collection, processing, or transfer of data for COVID-19 contact tracing purposes.

The bill also requires ...

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