Checking your steps, measuring your heart rate and tracking your daily activity have become part of our day-to-day with more and more fitness trackers (think FitBits and Apple Watches) popping up for purchase, but all of your private health information found on these devices might not be so private after all. A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services reveals that this private information is likely being sold to third-party companies because it isn’t protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).
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“Let’s say, for example, that you just have it on your wrist and you took X amount of steps. That’s probably not covered. But let’s say your doctor used it in part of his diagnosis, then it probably could be,” attorney Joe Viacava said to NBC. “So really, HIPPA isn’t for a specific item. It is being used for healthcare purposes.”
While Congress has requested that the Department of Health and Human Services recommend a solution, they still have not been provided with any. According to Viacava, this is still an invasion of privacy and suggests to always assume and be aware that the device or application isn’t protected by these HIPPA rules when accepting the terms and conditions.
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