Apple Alters iOS Developer Agreement To Prevent Sale of Health Data

September 3, 2014 in News

Apple appears to be taking steps to prevent application developers from selling health data collected by its recently launched mobile platform called HealthKit, MobiHealthNews reports (Dolan, MobiHealthNews, 9/2).

Background

In June, Apple introduced a new mobile application and platform that aims to consolidate health data tracked by various other health apps into one location.

Apple’s product includes both the platform, called HealthKit, and a user-facing app called Health. It will be bundled into Apple’s iOS8 software, which powers iPhones and iPads (iHealthBeat, 8/13).

Details of Apple’s New Policy

Last week, the Financial Times reported that Apple had changed its iOS developer license agreement to prohibit developers from selling health information collected through HealthKit “to advertising platforms, data brokers or information resellers.”

In addition, the agreement states that developers are not permitted to use the HealthKit app or data collected from it “for any purpose other than providing health and/or fitness services” (MobiHealthNews, 9/2).

According to Modern Healthcare‘s “Vital Signs,” the update puts Apple at odds with HHS, which has not required patient consent for the release and disclosure of collected patient information for common uses since 2002.

The issue of patient consent has gained traction in recent months (Conn, “Vital Signs,” Modern Healthcare, 9/2).

In May, the Federal Trade Commission released a report recommending that Congress pass legislation to make data broker practices more transparent and give consumers more control over their personal health information (iHealthBeat, 5/28).

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