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First FTC Health Breach Notification Rule case addresses GoodRx’s not-so-good privacy practices

FTC: “The company name may be GoodRx, but it’s unlikely that “good” is the adjective consumers would use to describe the way the company violated its privacy promises by disclosing their personal health information to companies like Facebook and Google without authorization. How did GoodRx accomplish that? By using automatic “plug and play” tracking pixels and software development kits (SDKs) from Facebook, Google, and other companies that are designed to grab a substantial amount of consumer data and turn it over for advertising purposes. In the case of GoodRx, this included consumers’ personal and health information. To settle the FTC’s first action alleging a violation of the Health Breach Notification Rule, GoodRx will pay a $1.5 million civil penalty. But there’s another first-of-its-kind provision in the proposed settlement sure to generate water cooler talk among app developers, privacy professionals, and others in the burgeoning health technology industry. Read on for details. GoodRx runs a digital health platform where consumers can compare prescription drug prices and get prescription drug coupons. It also offers a paid monthly subscription service, GoodRx Gold, which claims to offer greater discounts and virtual telehealth visits through a product called GoodRx Care. GoodRx collects a substantial amount of personal data – including highly sensitive health information – from consumers and from pharmacy benefit managers, which are companies that manage prescription drug benefits, confirming when someone uses a GoodRx coupon to get a prescription. Although the specific language has changed over the years, GoodRx has made numerous privacy promises to consumers. For example, in describing its use of third-party tracking tools, GoodRx assured people, “[W]e never provide advertisers or any other third parties any information that reveals a personal health condition or personal health information.” GoodRx also promised users that it “rarely shares” personal health information with third parties, and when it does, it “ensures that these third parties are bound to comply with federal standards as to how to treat ‘medical data’ that is linked with your name, contact information and other personal identifiers.” In addition, GoodRx stated it would share users’ personal  information only for certain limited administrative functions – for example, “to provide services directly to users,” “to comply with the law or legal process,” “to act in an emergency to protect someone’s safety,” or “to handle customer requests.” To use a phrase we’ve had to repeat with troubling frequency in recent blog posts, that’s what the company promised, but the FTC says what GoodRx was doing behind the scenes contradicted those soothing assurances. According to the complaint, beginning in at least 2017, GoodRx broke its privacy promises by sharing information about users’ prescription meds, health conditions, and personal information – like contact information and personal identifiers – with some of the biggest names in digital advertising…”

Supreme Court ruling on the Second Amendment sooner rather than later

@JacobDCharles, Assoc. Prof. of Law, @PeppLaw; Affiliated Scholar, @DukeFirearmsLaw. Researching firearms law. Teaching 2nd Am, Torts & PR. Papers: http://bit.ly/3HleQND – California, USA – “Looks like we’re going to get a new Supreme Court ruling on the Second Amendment sooner rather than later because this new Fifth Circuit ruling strikes down the federal law prohibiting… Continue Reading

Meta Was Scraping Sites for Years While Fighting the Practice

Yahoo Finance: “Meta is suing a company for collecting information from its platforms – Facebook and Instagram. It turns out that the social media company had earlier partnered with the same firm — Bright Data — to gather data from other websites. This came to light during the ongoing case filed on January 6 in… Continue Reading

Hamburg Climate Futures Outlook 2023

“The purpose of this second Hamburg Climate Futures Outlook is to systematically analyze and assess the plausibility of certain well-defined climate futures based on present knowledge of social drivers and physical processes. In particular, we assess the plausibility of those climate futures that are envisioned by the 2015 Paris Agreement, namely holding global warming to… Continue Reading

United States EV Fast-Charging Corridor Road Map

February 2023 United States EV Fast-Charging Corridor Road Map. A full-coverage future for long-distance electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Analysis & Design. Elizabeth Abramson Research Analyst and Design Specialist, Carbon Solutions LLC; Road Map Architecture, Dane McFarlane, Director of Climate and Policy, Carbon Solutions LLC. Prepared for the Great Plains Institute “This analysis identified 509 public,… Continue Reading

Can ChatGPT help me at the office? We put the AI chatbot to the test.

Washington Post: “If ChatGPT, the buzzy new chatbot from Open AI, wrote this story, it would say: “As companies look to streamline their operations and increase productivity, many are turning to artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT to assist their employees in completing tasks. But can workers truly rely on these AI programs to take on… Continue Reading

Society isn’t changing fast enough to stop climate change: study

The Hill: “A new report has found that significant social change is needed to halt catastrophic climate change — and society isn’t changing fast enough. Keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius — the limit set in the Paris Agreement — is implausible for social reasons, not technical ones, according to the Hamburg Climate Outlook, published… Continue Reading

Iffy Index of Unreliable Sources

“The Iffy Index of Unreliable Sources compiles credibility ratings by Media Bias/Fact Check. MBFC has substantial experience, comprehensiveness, transparency, accountability, and currency in reviewing news sites (details in methodology). Peer-reviewed studies, health/media guides, and mis/disinfo tools all use the Iffy Index. Political leaning is not a factor. The Iffy Index includes only sites that MBFC rates as Low Credibility rating… Continue Reading

NASA partners with IBM to build AI foundation models to advance climate science

VentureBeat: U.S. space agency NASA isn’t just concerned about exploring outer space, it’s also concerned about helping humanity to learn more about the planet Earth and the impacts of climate change. Today, NASA and IBM announced a partnership that will see the development of new artificial intelligence (AI) foundation models to help analyze geospatial satellite… Continue Reading

At the Supreme Court, ethics questions over a spouse’s business ties

The New York Times: “After Chief Justice John Roberts joined the Supreme Court, his wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts, gave up her career as a law firm partner to become a high-end legal recruiter in an effort to alleviate potential conflicts of interest. Jane Roberts later recalled in an interview that her husband’s job made it… Continue Reading