How a federal data protection agency would affect healthcare

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., unveiled legislation on Feb. 12 calling for the creation of a Data Protection Agency, an independent federal consumer watchdog aimed at giving Americans greater control over their personal data.

The Data Protection Act specifically calls for increased protection of and regulation for the use of health data, including genetic, mental health, insurance and other medical information. Under the proposed the legislation, the Data Protection Agency would closely monitor the functions of any entity collecting and using health information, categorized in the proposal as "sensitive" or "high-risk" information.

The agency would be tasked with auditing those entities to ensure their data gathering and analysis practices are "fair and just," and with evaluating new processing techniques and applications for high-risk data to protect consumers and their personal information.

"As our country and economy continue to evolve with the digital age, we face a national crisis as our personal data gets targeted — and not just for marketing by brands, but also to establish if we can access certain jobs, loans or prices on products. Americans should be able to go to an institution that will look out for, and actively work to protect, their privacy and freedom," Ms. Gillibrand said in a blog post about the legislation.

More articles on consumerism:
Don't be a 'data pig' & 2 more ways to maintain trust while collecting patient data
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Snapchat rolls out in-app mental health resources

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