FTC wants Apple’s guarantees over health data use


The U.S. Federal Trade Commission wants Apple’s guarantees that sensitive health data collected by its upcoming smart watch and the HealthKit platform won’t be used without owners’ consent, two sources told Reuters.

Apparently, Apple representatives have met on multiple occasions with agency officials saying that users’ health data won’t be sold to third-parties such as marketers nor will something like that be allowed to developers connecting to HealthKit. The FTC is paying particularly close attention to the upcoming Apple Watch which will be able to track a user’s pulse and store health-related information.

Apple said it works closely with regulators around the world to describe built-in data protections for its services. “We’ve been very encouraged by their support,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said.

Apple’s HealthKit is made to manage data gathered from mobile health apps and devices, and give consumers control over how their information is used and shared. “We designed HealthKit with privacy in mind,” said Muller.

For the time being, FTC doesn’t intend to launch a formal investigation or inquiry into the matter; nevertheless, the dialogue with Apple and other mHealth platform providers underscores the agency’s interest in how the increasing wealth of consumer-generated health and fitness data will be safeguarded. The FTC also requested that Congress enact legislation to make the practices of data brokers more visible…