Author: David King
The US has filed a lawsuit against Meta (previously Facebook) for using a data tracking tool that violated patient privacy.
According to The Verge, two hypothetical class-action lawsuits asserted that Meta and significant US hospitals employed a tracking gadget called a Meta Pixel that transfers health data to Facebook.
A research also claimed that several health facilities had a data tracking tool on their website that sends medical data to Facebook when patients plan appointments.
The hospitals using this tool may violate the Health Insurance and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects medical privacy.
According to the medical privacy law, hospitals and healthcare providers must obtain permission from patients before disclosing individually identifiable health information to outside parties.
The primary usage is to track ad performance across Meta platforms (Facebook and Instagram).
Now, for the lawsuits to proceed, a judge must certify them as class actions.
According to the lawsuit, Meta’s Pixel secretly access sensitive health data that Meta later sold to Facebook advertising.
33 of the top 100 hospitals in America utilize Meta’s Pixel tool, according to research conducted in June by nonprofit media The Markup. The grievance describes the experience of a Facebook user who started getting targeted advertisements for drugs linked to knee and heart ailments that she had registered in her patient portal at San Francisco Medical Center.
It is illegal to share sensitive information regarding a person’s health, finances, or other categories with third parties.
Interestingly, Meta has denied any wrongdoing and claims that the hospitals were responsible for the data breaches. The company also argues that it’s not liable for the hospitals’ actions.
We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out in court.
What Does This Mean for the Future of Data Sharing?
This story is still developing, but it’s already raising some critical questions about the future of data sharing.
What does this mean for companies trying to collect and track data?
Is it safe to share information with third-party companies? Will hospitals be more hesitant to work with companies in the future? These are all questions that remain unanswered, but they’re worth exploring.
Data-tracking is a big business, and this case could significantly impact the industry’s future.
Meta has come under fire after it was revealed that the data-tracking tool they provided to advertisers allegedly led to the disclosure of patient information to Facebook.
It’s still unclear how exactly patient information was disclosed to Facebook. Still, the fact that this may have happened is a serious cause for concern.
If you’re a patient or the family member of a patient, it’s important to stay informed about this issue and keep an eye on any developments.