Bradley attorney Jordan Stivers Luke was quoted in Bloomberg Law on privacy concerns surrounding fertility tracking apps. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act largely doesn’t cover fertility apps and many privacy policies are unclear, leaving women in the dark about where their data is going and who has access to it.
Even though fertility apps are gathering health data, they’re not covered by privacy protections in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, said Luke. That’s because HIPAA applies to covered entities including health plans, clearinghouses, and providers, and generally not mobile apps, she said.
“The data could be used in a lot of different ways, including targeted advertising,” Luke said. “A more nefarious use would be if an employer or an insurer secured the data and could practice pregnancy discrimination.”
Though many privacy policies say data may be shared with third parties, it’s difficult or impossible to know who’s getting that information or how it’s being used, Luke said.
Luke said women looking to use these apps should weigh their utility against potential privacy concerns, even if there’s “no full-proof” way to ensure data is safe.
“What would you be okay with being out there?” she said. “Everybody has a different level of concern with this type of information.”
The original article, "Fertility Tracking Apps Get Tough Look From States Over Privacy," appeared in Bloomberg Law on October 14, 2020.