Analysis Raises New HealthCare.gov Privacy Questions

January 20, 2015 in News

HealthCare.gov contains embedded connections between the website and several third-party technology companies, prompting concerns about privacy, according to an analysis by technology experts, the AP/New York Times reports.

Analysis Details

The analysis was conducted by various technology experts, including Mehdi Daoudi, CEO of Catchpoint Systems. The analysis was replicated by the Associated Press during one 10-minute visit to HealthCare.gov.

Analysis Findings

Catchpoint Systems identified 50 third-party connections embedded in the federal health insurance exchange site.

Meanwhile, the AP discovered that dozens of third-party sites were accessed in the background, including:

  • Facebook;
  • Google’s data analytics service;
  • Twitter; and
  • Several online advertising providers.

Findings

The analysis found that dozens of data companies might be able to determine when a user is on HealthCare.gov. In addition, some companies might be able to piece together a user’s age, income, ZIP code and medical information, according to the analysis.

The third parties cannot see a user’s name, birth date or Social Security number, but they might be able to determine personal information by noting that a user accessed HealthCare.gov and comparing that with other Internet activities.

HealthCare.gov’s privacy policies states that “no personally identifiable information” is collected by third-party web measurement tools, which are considered a standard part of e-commerce, according to the AP/Times.

According to the AP/Times, there is no evidence that such information has been misused.

Reaction

Cooper Quintin, a staff technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said “I think that this could erode … confidentiality when dealing with medical data and medical information.”

According to CMS spokesperson Aaron Albright, third-party vendors “are prohibited from using information from these tools on HealthCare.gov for their companies’ purpose,” adding that the government uses them for performance measurement purposes (AP/New York Times, 1/20).

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Analysis Raises New HealthCare.gov Privacy Questions

January 20, 2015 in News

HealthCare.gov contains embedded connections between the website and several third-party technology companies, prompting concerns about privacy, according to an analysis by technology experts, the AP/New York Times reports.

Analysis Details

The analysis was conducted by various technology experts, including Mehdi Daoudi, CEO of Catchpoint Systems. The analysis was replicated by the Associated Press during one 10-minute visit to HealthCare.gov.

Analysis Findings

Catchpoint Systems identified 50 third-party connections embedded in the federal health insurance exchange site.

Meanwhile, the AP discovered that dozens of third-party sites were accessed in the background, including:

  • Facebook;
  • Google’s data analytics service;
  • Twitter; and
  • Several online advertising providers.

Findings

The analysis found that dozens of data companies might be able to determine when a user is on HealthCare.gov. In addition, some companies might be able to piece together a user’s age, income, ZIP code and medical information, according to the analysis.

The third parties cannot see a user’s name, birth date or Social Security number, but they might be able to determine personal information by noting that a user accessed HealthCare.gov and comparing that with other Internet activities.

HealthCare.gov’s privacy policies states that “no personally identifiable information” is collected by third-party web measurement tools, which are considered a standard part of e-commerce, according to the AP/Times.

According to the AP/Times, there is no evidence that such information has been misused.

Reaction

Cooper Quintin, a staff technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said “I think that this could erode … confidentiality when dealing with medical data and medical information.”

According to CMS spokesperson Aaron Albright, third-party vendors “are prohibited from using information from these tools on HealthCare.gov for their companies’ purpose,” adding that the government uses them for performance measurement purposes (AP/New York Times, 1/20).

Be the first to like.
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Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Ihealthbeat/~3/qsy7rWKv_RI/analysis-raises-new-healthcaregov-privacy-questions

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