Facebook receives your personal health data | information age


You don’t mind if Facebook has a little squiz about your health data, do you? Photo: Shutterstock

Already facing a series of privacy lawsuits, Facebook has been revealed to receive sensitive personal health information without people’s knowledge or consent.

It comes as the US Congress considers a new nationwide binding privacy law.

The Meta Pixel, installed on US hospital websites, collects details about medical conditions, prescriptions, appointments, and personal details, and sends them to Facebook, the nonprofit tech newsroom markup found.

His analysis showed 33 of the NewsweekTop 100 hospitals had the tracker on their website, although some have since removed it.

In an experiment conducted by markupa doctor’s name, field of medicine, first name, last name, email address, phone number, postal code, and city of residence of the patient were sent to Facebook through the pixel.

In another example, a description of the text of an appointment button, the doctor’s name and the search term “pregnancy termination” were passed to the social media giant.

Following Roe’s historic and controversial upset against Wade, concerns over data protection and digital privacy have grown.

It emphasizes Google, Facebook and other Big Tech to commit to protecting personal data, including web searches, emails, text messages and even details stored in apps, linked reproduction services and information.

Tracking Big Tech Tracking Tools

The Facebook survey is part of markupThe Meta Pixel study, conducted with the Mozilla Foundation, to understand the extent of online tracking and sharing of personal information.

The Meta Pixel, named after the tiny 1 pixel by 1 pixel images that were hidden on web pages and first used for tracking, is a snippet of code on a website that can record interactions on web pages, buttons and certain information entered in forms.

It is considered one of the most common tracking tools, estimated to over 30% of frequently visited websites, according to markupand is used for digital advertising and to collect user statistics on websites.

Personal and sensitive information can be sent to Meta from many different sites, without people’s knowledge or consent.

And if someone is logged into Facebook when interacting with a website with an active Meta Pixel, third-party cookies can allow Meta to go even further and connect the collected pixel data to their Facebook account, which which makes identification even easier.

Movements to Pass National Privacy Laws in the United States

This latest scandal over data-sharing practices comes as a proposal for a new national privacy law is before the US Congress.

It includes a category of “sensitive” data that includes health information in addition to biometric, financial and geolocation information, among others, and would enshrine a data minimization requirement for organizations to collect only reasonable information and a “privacy by design” mandate.

It would also require federal agencies to support research into data privacy protection technologies, though digital rights group Electronic Frontiers Foundation wants stronger private rights so individuals can sue companies for privacy breaches. private life.

The social media giant is not subject to a law that prevents hospitals from sharing personally identifiable health information with third parties, even if Facebook receives that information.

Under the pressure of a damaging history in the the wall street journal and an investigation by the New York Department of Financial Services, Facebook in 2021 developed a policy on sensitive health data.

It agreed to develop a policy to identify and block certain sensitive user information sent to the platform, but the report found that it did not work with complete accuracy.

The department said the problematic data-sharing practices exposed in the article were an ongoing risk in the data analytics and social media industries.


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