More than a year after the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling, which overturned Roe v. Wade, data privacy professionals are seeing increased scrutiny on companies’ practices and litigation supported by a patchwork of state data privacy laws. Though not new, online tracking tools are now at the root of lawsuits and class actions.
In an article in LegalTech News, data, privacy & cybersecurity partner Fran Faircloth explained, ““Even for health care-related websites, this has been fairly common for the past decade or more since this technology has been around,” said Fran. “There was a study that found that almost 99% of hospital websites used this before Dobbs. Since then, because of an increase in litigation and regulatory action around it, that perspective has really shifted.”
“Right after [Dobbs] there were fears about women’s health and what might be tracked in terms of, like we said, geolocation and online activity, but since then it’s really kind of expanded to of allegations related to privacy that go way beyond that, to things that are arguably not even an invasion of privacy,” Fran explained.
Over the past year, several states have passed more comprehensive data privacy laws. For example, Oregon and Delaware provide data-level exemptions, versus entity-based exemptions, to organizations regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
“I think they recognize that if HIPAA covered entities have data that’s not HIPAA covered, exempting them entirely would make them fall outside … and so they were trying to close that gap there,” Fran said. “Dobbs kind of amped up the need for that legislation for a lot of state legislators.”
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