AB 2688: Health ‘Privacy’ Bill Would Unleash Information Sharing
6/28 update: AB 2688 was approved in the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Voting in favor of the bill – and against consumers’ interests – were all of the panel’s Democrats: Chair Hannah-Beth Jackson and Senators Robert Hertzberg, Mark Leno, William Monning and Bob Wieckowski. The committee’s two Republicans, Vice Chair Joel Anderson and Senator John Moorlach, both opposed the bill. It’s now on the Senate Floor.
Privacy advocates were already unhappy with AB 2688 (Gordon) when it was heard in the state Assembly. But instead of working with opponents to strengthen this health “privacy” bill, the latest set of proposed amendments from Assembly Member Gordon turn AB 2688 into a license for Fitbit, Apple and a host of other health information systems to share our private information with almost no restrictions.
Among other problems, the proposed amendments to AB 2688:
- Eliminate an opt-in for information sharing, replacing it with an opt-out that the commercial health monitoring program “shall make available” and which a consumer won’t be able to find and won’t know exists.
- Eliminates language that would have stopped a device maker or health website from charging a fee or penalty payment to a consumer who revokes an information sharing consent.
- Eliminates language requiring that an information sharing authorization be “clear and conspicuous,” which means the “consent” now can be hidden in a lengthy legal notice that consumers don’t read and cannot understand.
- Narrows the coverage to exempt Apple watches, Google platforms and almost all other commercial platforms that collect health information from any privacy controls.