New lawsuits against Meta, this time for tracing patient data – ICT news

In the United States, lawyers are preparing two group lawsuits against Meta and some large hospitals, which allegedly shared sensitive health information with Facebook via the Meta Pixel tool.

Meta Pixel is a tracking tool that can be used on websites to obtain statistics and analytics for Facebook and Instagram ads. One of the things the tool tracks is what people click on and what information they enter on these websites.

This last element can be annoying, if the website in question is that of a hospital. From a survey carried out by the non-profit organization The Markup, it appears that 33 of the hundred largest American hospitals have integrated the tracking tool into their site. According to the lawsuits, they were in violation of medical confidentiality law by transferring potentially sensitive data to Facebook. This includes, among other things, information on the health of patients, on medical appointments and on allergies to certain types of medication. One of the witnesses in this case states that his data was transmitted to Facebook, after which he received targeted advertisements about cardiac pathologies.

Health data

Under the HIPAA medical privacy law, organizations in the United States must receive consent from patients to share personal data with third parties. Meta itself states that organizations using Meta Pixel must have the right to transfer data. According to the plaintiffs, however, Meta turned a blind eye to the circumvention of these rules, and installed Pixel on sites, which the company knew could collect personal health data.

The lawsuits are now in the hands of Justice, who must decide whether they will be approved as a class action or as a ‘class action’, following which they may lead to fines per affected user.

Meta Pixel is a tracking tool that can be used on websites to obtain statistics and analytics for Facebook and Instagram ads. One of the things the tool tracks is what people click on and what information they enter on those websites. This last bit can be troublesome, if the website in question is that of a hospital. From a survey carried out by the non-profit organization The Markup, it appears that 33 of the hundred largest American hospitals have integrated the tracking tool into their site. According to the lawsuits, they were in violation of medical confidentiality law by transferring potentially sensitive data to Facebook. This includes, among other things, information on the health of patients, on medical appointments and on allergies to certain types of medication. One of the witnesses in this case states that his data was passed on to Facebook, after which he received targeted advertisements about heart conditions. In accordance with HIPAA medical privacy law, organizations in the United States must receive patient consent to share personal data with third parties. Meta itself states that organizations using Meta Pixel must have the right to transfer data. According to the plaintiffs, Meta turned a blind eye to the circumvention of these rules, however, and installed Pixel on sites, which the company knew could collect personal health data. The lawsuits are now in the hands of Justice , who must decide whether they will be approved as a class action or as a ‘class action’, following which they may lead to fines per affected user.

.

Leave a Comment