On July 15, 2021, the Belgian Supervisory Authority (“SA”) released a 40-page draft recommendation on the use of biometric data and launched a public consultation to solicit feedback about it.

Most notably, the SA points out that there is no valid legal basis other than explicit consent (with all the GDPR limitations attached to it) that would enable the processing of biometric data for authentication purposes (e.g., security), because Belgian lawmakers failed to adopt the required national legislation to supplement the GDPR (specifically, to underpin the public interest exception found in Art. 9(2)(g) GDPR for processing sensitive personal data).  The SA considers this outcome a departure from the rules that applied prior to the GDPR, and will therefore allow a one-year grace period to give controllers and lawmakers sufficient time to address the issue.


Continue Reading Belgian Supervisory Authority Launches Public Consultation on the Use of Biometric Data

On May 20, 2021, there was a major ransomware attack on the Irish health system.  The centralized HSE (Health Service Executive), which provides and manages healthcare for the Irish population, was targeted on May 14 and has seen significant disruption since.  It has described the attack as a ‘zero-day threat with a brand new variant of the Conti ransomware.’


Continue Reading Major Cyber-attack on Irish Health System Causes Commercial Concern

Two recent actions by lawmakers are intended to address certain uses of technology in health. First, two Senators have introduced a bipartisan bill related to the collection and use of identifiable health data from wearable health trackers.  Second, following an appeal from Democratic lawmakers, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (“AHRQ”) plans to review the use of race-based algorithms in medical care.
Continue Reading SMARTWATCH Act and AHRQ’s Inquiry

In February 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) released a report on European Union (“EU”) Member States’ laws governing the processing of health data.  The report discusses three general types of health data uses:

  • primary use for health care services;
  • secondary use for public health purposes; and
  • secondary use for scientific research purposes.

For each of these general purposes, the report assesses real-world use cases.  For example, for health care services, the report considers e-health applications, among others.  For public health purposes, the report considers pharmacovigilance and product approvals.  The section on scientific research purposes, meanwhile, considers issues such as research by public bodies, sharing of data with third-party researchers, and the use of genetic data.


Continue Reading European Commission Publishes Report on EU Member States’ Rules in Relation to Health Data

On February 2, 2021, the European Data Protection Board (“Board”) responded to questions submitted by the European Commission (“Commission”) on the application of the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) to health research.  The Board also announced that it is currently working on guidelines on the processing of personal data for scientific research purposes, which it aims to publish in the course of 2021.

Continue Reading European Data Protection Board Answers Commission’s Questions on Health Research

In a new post on the Covington Digital Health blog, our colleagues discuss a recent settlement between the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and Flo Health, Inc. (“Flo”), the developer of a popular menstrual cycle and fertility-tracking application.  The settlement resolves allegations that Flo shared app users’ health information with outside third parties after promising

It’s the stuff of science fiction:  adversaries extract DNA information from a cup of coffee or postage stamp and use it infer one’s most private traits.  However, a recently released study entitled, “Data Sanitization to Reduce Private Information Leakage from Functional Genomics” discusses how this can be achieved, along with privacy measures that

In a new post on the Covington Digital Health blog, our colleagues discuss California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s recent settlement against Glow, Inc., resolving allegations that the fertility app had “expose[d] millions of women’s personal and medical information.” The post explains the allegations and settlement terms, as well as takeaways for providers of digital