Does wiretap law apply to cookies on hospital websites?

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will hear a case April 3 on whether hospitals violated a state law prohibiting wiretapping when they had third-party analytics tools on their websites, the Boston Globe reported.

A Massachusetts woman sued New England Baptist Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, both in Boston, alleging that cookie technology on their websites violated her privacy by transmitting her data to third parties such as Google and Facebook for targeted advertising, according to the April 3 story. The defendants argued that using the state's Wiretap Act as a standard aims to "interpret the language of this pre-internet age statute in a way that creates unintended, absurd, and calamitous internet age consequences."

At least a dozen class-action lawsuits have been filed against hospitals and other organizations in Massachusetts claiming that website analytics and advertising technologies violate the Wiretap Act, the Globe reported.

Somerville, Mass.-based Mass General Brigham settled a similar class-action lawsuit over the use of website cookies and pixels in 2022 for $18.4 million, according to the story.

Becker's reached out to Cambridge, Mass.-based Beth Israel Lahey Health, the parent system of the two hospitals involved in the April 3 case, for comment.

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