Obamacare Website Sharing Personal Data

Christine Rousselle
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Posted: Jan 21, 2015 2:20 PM
Obamacare Website Sharing Personal Data

Yesterday, in the midst of the State of the Union hullabaloo, it was quietly revealed that Healthcare.gov, the government-run health insurance exchange website, was sharing personal data with advertising companies. While the government claims that the information will not be used to further business interests, the fact that personal information (zip code, pregnancy status, among other things) is being shared with third parties is being described as a "violation of privacy" and "potentially compromising" of an individual's security.

The Associated Press reports:

Albright said HealthCare.gov comports with standards set by the federal National Institute for Standards and Technology. But recent NIST guidance cautions that collecting bits of seemingly random data can be used to piece together someone's identity.

In a recent visit to the site, AP found that certain personal details — including age, income and smoking habits — were being passed along, likely without consumers' knowledge, to advertising and Web analytics sites.

Third-party outfits that track website performance are a standard part of e-commerce. HealthCare.gov's privacy policy says in boldface that "no personally identifiable information is collected" by these Web measurement tools.

The deadline for open enrollment is February 15, 2015. There is a target of nine million sign-ups.

This is very Big Brother-esque. Something must be done to protect the privacy of consumers.