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Latest News On Online Tracking Technologies
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) warn hospitals and telehealth providers about the privacy and security risks of online tracking technologies.
These technologies, such as Meta/Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics, can track users' online activities without their knowledge or consent. This information can then be used to target users with advertising or to share with third parties.
The FTC and OCR are concerned that using these technologies could violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects the privacy of patient health information.
The agencies are urging hospitals and telehealth providers to take steps to mitigate the risks associated with online tracking technologies. These steps include:
Review their privacy policies to ensure they are clear about how they collect and use online tracking data.
Providing users with the ability to opt out of online tracking.
Using only reputable online tracking vendors that have strong privacy and security practices.
Use only tracking technologies that are necessary for your business.
Limit the amount of data that you collect through tracking technologies.
Encrypt the data that you collect through tracking technologies.
Periodically review your privacy policies and procedures to ensure that they are up-to-date.
The FTC and OCR also remind hospitals and telehealth providers that they are responsible for protecting the privacy of patient health information, even if they use online tracking technologies.