News hardware Facebook is still stealing data… from hospitals
Facebook is a bit of the dunce of the class when it comes to the protection of privacy. The lawsuits accumulate and they are not ready to stop with this new case. Hospitals in the US are being looted of their patient data without their knowledge.
Facebook steals hospital data with a tracker
In the United States, the health system is drastically different than in France. Most health centers are private and when you want to make an appointment for a consultation, you have to go to the site dedicated to each establishment.
When you go there and fill in the information necessary for the appointment, there is a one in three chance that a tracker is present and steals this data to send it directly to Facebook.
Indeed, the information comes to us from The Markup site which has carried out a benchmark among the 100 largest hospitals in the country. 33 of them feature this Facebook tracker called Meta Pixel. In total, this concerns about 26 million patient admissions.
The company does not deprive itself and takes everything:
- The IP address, in order to know the geographical position of the user
- Symptoms or medical conditions that the patient meets as indications for the doctor, such as “Alzheimer’s”.
- The appointment itself with the name of the practitioner
In absolute terms, it’s not just Facebook’s fault. For this tracker to be installed, it comes from the participation of the health establishment to install it. Concretely, there is no evidence that the two parties entered into a financial agreement in order to transmit information from one to the other.
Meta and the hospitals involved have denied the facts, but the concern is that‘there is no evidence that Meta or institutions explicitly ask patients for consent to use their data. This is the root of the problem.
Meta declined to answer questions, but it’s likely the company’s tentacles extend much further than you might think. In all cases, this kind of action is a violation of the Federal Hospital Liability Act.
Facebook has made personal data its bread and butter since the beginning of its existence, and it’s not with this kind of news that the image of the brand will change.
Source : The Markup