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Send CDT to SXSW 2017

In 2015 and 2016, CDT made a splash at SXSW, but we think the third time is the charm. We have five great panels in store for Austin in 2017, but we need your help to get us there. The PanelPicker is now open through September 2 — vote for CDT! Here are our submissions.

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Guidance but Not Direction: The FTC’s Tool for Mobile Health App Developers

The Federal Trade Commission released an interactive tool this week meant to help mobile health app developers determine the laws and regulations that might apply to them. The guidance is good primer for developers who want to understand basic legal compliance and it’s great that the FTC recognizes that it is as important for companies to educate themselves about privacy and security standards as it is for consumers. However, it illustrates a greater need for forward-thinking policy solutions to address gaps in protection for health data.

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Active on Health Privacy

CDT has long been active on issues in health privacy and the past few months have been especially busy. Here’s a quick snapshot of the various projects and outreach we are working on – ranging from wearables to your online porn viewing habits.

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Always On: Taking the Privacy Pulse of Today’s Digital Patient

To examine a multitude of health privacy questions, we held the 4th iteration of our “Always On” series, this time bringing together leading experts in government, academia, advocacy, and industry to explore the regulatory and social challenges we face as digital patients. Michelle details the conversations that were held, the questions that were posed, and the solutions that were considered, plus more.

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Digital India’s Impact on Privacy: Aadhaar numbers, biometrics, and more

Much of the discussion at the recent India-U.S. Information and Communications Technologies Working Group focused on the Indian government’s “Digital India” initiative to promote universal connectivity, with the goal of providing every citizen with broadband connection by December 2016. As part of a “cradle-to-grave digital identity” for its citizens, the government plans to draw on the Aadhaar program, a controversial unique identification system that has led the Indian government to create the world’s largest biometric database. Lisa discusses its privacy concerns and more.

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House Oversight Committee Questions FTC’s Enforcement Practices

The FTC’s case seemed straightforward enough: it’s not a good idea to install file-sharing software on computers that hold unencrypted medical records. That’s what LabMD, a Georgia-based medical testing facility, was accused of doing in a 2013 FTC complaint. Most companies typically settle with the Federal Trade Commission to avoid the costs of protracted litigation (and because they typically don’t have to pay any fines given the FTC’s lack of penalty authority). However, LabMD thought they were being unfairly picked on — they argue the FTC should be suing the file-sharing software maker, LimeWire, instead — so they made the FTC take them to court.

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Privacy and Security Considerations of Telehealth

Telehealth – using telecommunication technologies to prevent illness and promote health – has incredible potential benefits. Telehealth can help reach underserved or remote populations, and it can also help reduce costs in general, while providing more real-time interaction between medical providers and patients. The benefits – and effectiveness – are becoming increasingly clear, however the full potential of telehealth cannot be realized unless privacy and security risks are addressed upfront.

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Covered California’s Misguided Privacy Policy

Earlier this month, Covered California – the state’s affordable health care insurance marketplace – launched an initiative to boost enrollment by inviting individuals who had started an application on the website, but did not finish it, to complete their application. However, the manner in which Covered California is doing this – through sharing the names, addresses and emails of potential applicants with insurance agents and brokers, and having the agents invite the applicant to return to complete their application – has alarmed insurance agents as well as the potential applicants.

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Privacy Protections Must Accompany New Models of Health Care

The bumpy rollout of healthcare.gov has been front-page news for the past several weeks, but the topic of health reform extends well beyond current efforts to get everyone insured. Efforts to transform health care so that it delivers greater value for patients at more rational costs are proceeding apace. For example, Walgreens is piloting a new model of care – called Well Experience – where the pharmacist’s work area is relocated from behind the counter out into public areas of the pharmacy. This enables the pharmacist to interact more regularly with members of the public – to answer questions and provide advice to patients.

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