Exposing the Medical Privacy Truth

Human beings might be the smartest species to ever walk the earth, but that hasn’t really kept them from mistakes every now and then. The same is already proven quite a few times now, with each testimony nudging us to find and integrate a defensive cover of some sort. We will, on our part, do that exact thing once we bring dedicated regulatory bodies into the fold. The move was a legitimate game-changer; as it, right away, went on to conceal a lot of our shortcomings. However, the utopia will die down soon, and if we are being honest, it was all technology’s fault. You see, the moment technology and its layered nature took over the scene; it gave people an unprecedented shot at exploiting others for their own benefit. This naturally overwhelmed our governing forces and sent us back from where we had started. Fortunately enough, though, it won’t be the last power shift we’ll see in our lifetime. By embracing technology rather than fighting it, our regulatory industry will make a sensational comeback. In fact, the traces of this comeback have already been evident over the recent past, and two new lawsuits against Meta should only solidify its presence moving forward.

Meta is facing two proposed class-action lawsuits that accuse the company of violating US medical privacy laws. The lawsuits seemingly focus on Meta Pixel tracking tool, which can be installed on websites to provide analytics for Facebook and Instagram ads, and how it’s being used to steal people’s medical information. According to an investigation done by The Markup, 33 of the top 100 hospitals in the United States use Meta Pixel on their websites, with 7 hospitals also using it on a password-protected patient portal. The investigation sensationally went on to claim that the tool was sending information about patient health conditions, doctor appointments, and medication allergies to Facebook. This was reinforced in one of the two lawsuits where a patient revealed her medical information was sent to Facebook by the Meta Pixel tool on the University of California San Francisco and Dignity Health patient portals. The whole thing led to the patient encountering advertisements targeted to her heart and knee conditions.

In the second lawsuit, a patient at the MedStar Health System in Baltimore, Maryland claimed that at least 664 healthcare providers have sent medical data to Facebook through the Meta Pixel. Now, the reason why it’s such a big deal revolves around HIPAA, which blocks any healthcare organization from sharing personally identifiable health information without an explicit content on the patient’s part. At present, the lawsuits will have to be certified as class actions by a judge before they can move forward. Nevertheless, assuming they are successful, they could bring damages on behalf of all Facebook users whose medical providers employed the Meta Pixel.

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