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FTC releases Internet of Things report–HIPAA for all?

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The word “health” appears 51 times in this FTC report on the Internet of Things. It comes as no surprise that health is a big part of any conversation around data collection, storage, privacy, and security as both the benefits and risks of connected health are recognized as significant.

One of the four panels was titled “Connected Health and Fitness” (transcript pages 164-234).

The report rehashes all of the standard issues surrounding the IoT, data collection, and privacy:

At the same time, data from these Internet of Things devices should not be usable by insurers to set health, life, car, or other premiums. Nor should these data migrate into employment decisions, credit decisions, housing decisions, or other areas of public life. To aid the development of the Internet of Things–and reap the potential public health benefits these devices can create–we should reassure the public that their health data will not be used to draw unexpected inferences or incorporated into economic decisionmaking.

The outcome of these discussions was the suggestion that HIPAA should be expanded from just members of the healthcare community to include all consumer products that request or capture health information:

Commission staff believes that consumers should have transparency and choices over their sensitive health information, regardless of who collects it. Consistent standards would also level the playing field for businesses.

We can see that the FTC is actively looking at the area of health-oriented apps and devices. It will be interesting to see how the two regulatory bodies, the FDA and the FTC, align on these issues.

Source: FTC Report

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