FTC Commissioner Warns on Mobile Health-Data Gathering

Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 08:48 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill, speaking in Washington on Wednesday, expressed concern about the way apps on smartphones and mobile devices are siphoning sensitive health data, and how some of that information may then be shared with third parties.

After a panel discussion hosted by U.S. political site The Hill, Brill told Reuters that many companies now prefer to focus on how data is used, because that is where "the rubber hits the road when it comes to patient harm." Developers should give consumers more tools and "robust choice mechanisms" before any sensitive data is collected and stored.

"We don't know where that information ultimately goes," Brill told the panel. "It makes consumers uncomfortable." She has put pressure on Congress to pass laws prohibiting the collection of personal information under false pretenses.

The debate around the gathering of consumer data is intensifying as Silicon Valley tech companies take a more active interest in mobile health. Apple Inc and Google Inc revealed new health-focused services for apps developers in recent months, dubbed Google Fit and HealthKit.

Brill's comments followed a May report in which the FTC revealed the results of a study of mobile health-app developers, which found that a good portion collect consumer health data and give it to third-party entities.

The study, which focused on data-sharing in relation to 12 mobile health and fitness apps, found that developers were sharing users' information with 76 different parties, including marketers.

In an interview with Reuters, Brill stressed that "no one is talking about new regulations."

The agency has spent years communicating best practices for the rapidly emerging mobile health industry to follow, she said. FTC commissioners have also previously stressed that health data is sensitive and requires special protections.

Brill pointed to FTC initiatives like Reclaim Your Name, which would give consumers more tools to reassert control over their health data.

Some advocacy groups, like the Association for Competitive Technology, which represents application developers, fear that innovation could be stunted if information collection were curtailed.

"The mobile health industry needs to educate the FTC about why collecting health data can provide better health outcomes," Morgan Reed after the panel. "If we fail to do this, the commission could take action that would devastate app developers."

At its developer conference in June in San Francisco, Apple unveiled HealthKit, which will pull data together such as blood pressure and weight now collected by healthcare apps and devices on the iPhone and iPad.

Brill declined to comment on whether the FTC is concerned about HealthKit, as the service has yet to be released to the public.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Google Wants to Fly Drones Over New Mexico

Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 14:28 PM

Google is planning to begin testing drones in a virtually uninhabited area of New Mexico in pursuit of providing interne . . .

Bezos and Musk Go Head-to-Head in Skies and in Court

Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 12:43 PM

From cyberspace to outer space, the battle for supremacy between Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and PayPal founder Elon Musk  . . .

Boeing Likely To Be NASA's Choice for Space Taxi

Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 10:26 AM

Boeing appears to have won a large contract to build spacecraft that would take astronauts to and from orbit for NASA.  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved