Archives: Health Privacy

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California AG Settlement Suggests Privacy and Security Practices of Digital Health Apps May Provide Fertile Ground for Enforcement Activity

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 health … Continue Reading

California Legislature Adopts CCPA Exemption for Information Deidentified in Accordance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule

On September 1, the California legislature passed AB 713, a bill that creates a new healthcare-related exemption under the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”).  All provisions of the bill will take effect immediately to prevent the CCPA from “negatively impact[ing] certain health-related information and research,” except for the required contractual provisions described below. … Continue Reading

California Legislature Advances Privacy Legislation

Today, the California Senate Judiciary Committee will consider AB 1281, which would extend the California Consumer Privacy Act’s (CCPA) business-to-business and employment exemptions until January 1, 2022, in the event that the pending ballot initiative—which also would extend the exemptions—does not pass this November. In addition, the Committee will consider two contact tracing measures, AB … Continue Reading

Germany Prepares New Law for Patient Data Protection and Increased Digitalisation in Healthcare and for “Data Donations” for Research Purposes

On 3 July 2020, the German parliament passed a draft bill (German language) for patient data protection and for more digitalisation in the German healthcare system (Patientendaten-Schutz-Gesetz). The draft bill is currently in the legislative procedure and is expected to enter into force in autumn 2020. One of the main objectives of the bill is … Continue Reading

Bipartisan Bill Introduced in Senate Would Regulate COVID-19 Apps

Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced bipartisan legislation this week to address privacy issues in the COVID-19 era.  The proposal, entitled the “Exposure Notification Privacy Act,” would regulate “automated exposure notification services” developed to respond to COVID-19.  This bipartisan legislation comes on the heels of dueling privacy proposals from both political parties.  … Continue Reading

Democrats Introduce COVID-19 Privacy Bill That Differs in Key Respects From Republicans’ Proposal

House and Senate Democrats recently unveiled proposed legislation—tentatively titled the “Public Health Emergency Privacy Act”—that would regulate the collection and use of health and location information in connection with efforts to track and limit the spread of COVID-19. Below we describe the proposed Public Health Emergency Privacy Act and how it differs with a separate … Continue Reading

FTC to Consider Changes to the Health Breach Notification Rule

On May 8, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued a notice soliciting public comment regarding whether changes should be made to its Health Breach Notification Rule (the “Rule”).  The request for comment is part of a periodic review process “to ensure that [FTC rules] are keeping pace with changes in the economy, technology, and … Continue Reading

German Federal Agencies Publish Privacy and IT Security Requirements for Digital Health Applications

On April 21, 2020, the Regulation on the Requirements and Reimbursement Process for Digital Health Applications (Digitale Gesundheitsanwendungen-Verordnung or „DiGAV“, available here) entered into force in Germany.  Among other provisions, the DiGAV includes specific IT security and privacy requirements.  Shortly after the law took effect, Germany’s Federal Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (“BfArM”) also released … Continue Reading

HHS Announces Enforcement Discretion Over the Implementation of Interoperability Final Rules Due to COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

In a new post on the Covington Digital Health blog, our colleagues discuss the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announcement of enforcement discretion to “permit compliance flexibilities” for the implementation of the interoperability final rules issued on March 9th, 2020.  The final rules are intended to improve patient access to electronic health information … Continue Reading

EDPB Issues New Guidance on the Use of Location Data and Contact Tracing in the Context of the COVID-19 Outbreak

As we anticipated in a previous blog post, on April 22, 2020, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) issued new guidelines on the use of location data and contact tracing apps in the context of the present COVID-19 pandemic. The EDPB’s new guidelines complement and build on similar guidance previously issued by the Board itself … Continue Reading

UK ICO Issues Opinion on Apple-Google Initiative for a Contact Tracing Framework

On April 17, 2020, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) issued an opinion on the recently announced Apple-Google initiative to develop a Bluetooth-based Contact Tracing Framework (“CTF”) to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  The ICO opinion is generally supportive of the Apple-Google proposal and perceives it to be, at this early phase, aligned with … Continue Reading

EU Commission Releases Guidance on COVID-19 Apps

On 8 April 2020, the European Commission adopted a recommendation on a common European Union toolbox for the use of technology and data to address the COVID-19 crisis (“Recommendation”).  The Recommendation responds to calls for a common EU approach to the use of mobile apps in combatting COVID-19—one that improves the efficacy of the technology … Continue Reading

New German Legislation Facilitates Scientific Research in the Health Sector

On March 28, 2020, the “Federal Act for the Protection of the Population against an Epidemic of National Significance” (Bevölkerungsschutzgesetz) went into effect.  The law forms part of an emergency legislative package introduced by the German government in response to COVID-19. The law amends the Social Code V (SGB V) by introducing a new provision … Continue Reading

HHS Seeks to Facilitate Certain Uses and Disclosures of Health Data to Public Health and Health Oversight Agencies Amidst COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency

On April 2, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued a Notification of Enforcement Discretion (the “Notification”) regarding the disclosure of protected health information (“PHI”) to public health authorities and use of PHI to perform analytics for such authorities.  Designed to “facilitate uses and disclosures for public health and health oversight … Continue Reading

Greek Data Protection Authority Issues Guidelines on Data Protection and Coronavirus

On 18 March, 2020, the Hellenic (Greek) Data Protection Authority (“HDPA”) issued guidelines on data protection and COVID-19. With these guidelines, the HDPA aims to provide guidance on the interpretation and application of data protection legislation during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this blog, we summarise the key points included in the HDPA’s guidelines. Categorization of … Continue Reading

HHS Relaxes Enforcement of Certain HIPAA Provisions Amidst COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency

This month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued guidance waiving enforcement of certain provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) in response to the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.… Continue Reading

Global Privacy Assembly Issues Statement on COVID-19

On March 17, 2020, the Executive Committee of the Global Privacy Assembly (“GPA”) issued a statement on data protection in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The GPA is an entity representing data protection and privacy regulators around the globe, formerly known as the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (“ICDPPC”). The GPA … Continue Reading

HHS Finalizes Interoperability Rules

In a new post on the Covington Digital Health blog, our colleagues discuss two recent final rules aimed at improving patient access to electronic health information (EHI) and standardizing modes of exchange for EHI.  Among other things, the rules are intended to prevent so-called “information blocking” and to provide patients with greater control over their … Continue Reading

Italian Government and Trade Unions Sign Protocol on Fighting COVID-19 in the Workplace

On March 14, 2020, the Italian Government and several trade unions have signed a protocol, which establishes specific procedures for fighting COVID-19 in the workplace. The protocol also includes provisions on the processing of personal data of employees.  In particular, it provides that employers may subject their employees to pro-active body temperature controls before entering … Continue Reading

German Authorities Issue Guidance Related to Coronavirus

Over the past several days, Germany Supervisory Authorities and health authorities have issued statements and guidance about the handling of personal data in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  In this blog, we consider some these statements in greater detail, as well as their implications for employers and employees.… Continue Reading

EDPB Chair Issues Statement on Data Protection and COVID-19

On March 16, 2020, the Chair of the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”), Andrea Jelinek, issued a statement on the processing of personal data in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. The statement made clear that EU data protection law does not stand in the way of the adoption of measures to fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.  However, … Continue Reading

Belgian Supervisory Authority Issues Guidance on Data Protection and Coronavirus

On March 13, 2020, the Belgian data protection authority (“APD”) issued guidance on data protection and COVID-19. The guidance is mainly aimed at employers processing personal data of employees in the context of the measures they have taken to contain the spreading of COVID-19. The guidance is divided in the following three parts: legal basis … Continue Reading

Hungarian Supervisory Authority Issues Guidance on Data Protection and Coronavirus

On March 10, 2020, the Hungarian National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (“NAIH”) issued guidance on data protection and COVID-19. The NAIH highlights that controllers processing personal data in the context of their efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 must comply with the GDPR as well as Hungarian data protection law. … Continue Reading
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