Schumer wants health apps to offer data privacy protection

NEW YORK, N.Y. (AP Modified) – U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is concerned about smart phone applications tracking people’s health data and selling that personal information to a third party and advertisers.

Schumer claims this is happening without consumers who use health and fitness apps knowing about it.  The Senator wants the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the use of personal fitness data gathered from bracelets and cell phone applications by the companies that sell them, saying it can be sold to advertisers or others without users’ knowledge or consent.

The New York Democrat says there are no federal protections against such privacy intrusions, the companies’ policies aren’t clear, and consumers should have the ability to opt out. “The privacy laws that should protect us, have not caught up to the new technology that helps keep us healthy,” said Schumer. “We’re here today to say that those privacy laws should catch up with the technology.”

Schumer said the devices are good for helping people make healthier decisions by counting their steps, measuring their activity levels and calculating calorie burn, but the privacy problem must be addressed.

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