New Bill Aims to Safeguard Consumer Health Data Privacy

A duo of lawmakers have introduced legislation to secure the privacy of consumer health data from companies that amass such data.

The Protecting Personal Health Data Act, introduced June 14 by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, focuses on data gathered from health tracking devices and apps as well as DNA testing kits. The legislation would direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to enforce regulations for health technologies such as apps, wearable devices and genetic testing kits.

“New technologies have made it easier for people to monitor their own health, but health tracking apps and home DNA testing kits have also given companies access to personal, private data with limited oversight,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “This legislation will protect consumers’ personal health data by requiring that regulations be issued by the federal agencies that have the expertise to keep up with advances in technology.”

Among other actions, the bill creates a national health data protection task force that would evaluate and provide input to address cybersecurity risks and privacy concerns associated with consumer products that handle personal health data. The task force would also develop security standards for consumer devices, services, apps and software.

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