HealthCare.gov Makes Changes To Data Sharing Following Criticism

On Wednesday, word surfaced through The Associated Press that HealthCare.gov is shuttling some personal data input by users to third-parties like DoubleClick. The information was not tied to one's identity, and was comprised of things like whether one smokes, is pregnant, and where they live. The report was later confirmed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and it led to protests from those concerned about consumer privacy. In response, the administration has made some changes.

According to HealthCare.gov's privacy policy, it would not be providing personally identifiable data to third parties, of which the stuff like smoking and parental status, zip code, and more were not included. The outcry against the data sharing, however, has prompted the Obama administration to make some changes.

Following the AP's report, a new look at the site today shows that it has reduced "the outbound flow of personal information", according to the AP. Privacy advocates want to see further changes take place, but have said that this is a good step in the right direction.

Still, how exactly user data is being put to use isn't entirely clear, and there are calls for additional clarification and changes to take place. One such change is honoring Do Not Track when it is enabled, something the site was found to be ignoring. Other steps will include examining whether these third-party links pose a risk to users.

SOURCE: AP