Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, introduced the Protecting Personal Health Data Act today to safeguard the privacy of consumer health data from companies that collect such data.

The legislation would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish regulations for health technologies, such as wearable health devices like Fitbits, health apps, and genetic testing kits that are not already regulated.

“New technologies have made it easier for people to monitor their own health, but health tracking apps and home DNA testing kits have also given companies access to personal, private data with limited oversight,” Klobuchar said.

Under the bill’s ruling, consumers will have the ability to access, change, and delete health data that companies collect or use. The legislation would also create consent standards that differentiate between different types of data, whether genetic, biometric, or general personal health data.

Klobuchar and Murkowski’s legislation also aims to tackle the cybersecurity aspect of consumer data with the creation of a National Task Force on Health Data Protection. The task force would:

  • Provide insight for addressing cybersecurity risks and privacy matters concerning personal health consumer technology;
  • Create security standards for consumer devices, services, applications, and software; and
  • Study the long-term efficacy of de-identification methods for genetic and biometric data and create resources to educate consumers about consumer genetic testing.

“This legislation takes important steps to ensure guidelines are created for security and privacy protections of modern health information,” Murkowski said. “Our policies must evolve to keep up with advancements in recent technology. By enacting important modern protections for consumers’ personal health data, our bill puts the privacy of American consumers first.”

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