New restrictions on the commercialization of patients' medical records have been signed into law in Washington state

Washington News
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On Thursday, Democratic Governor Jay Inslee of Washington signed a bill into law that will safeguard users' personal health information in applications developed by third parties.

Recently, a bill titled "My Health, My Data Act" was enacted by the state legislature to strengthen consumer privacy safeguards about the collection, sharing, and sale of health information. Inslee said on Medium that the additional safeguards are "more necessary with the attack on abortion care" in other jurisdictions since specific applications may monitor and share a user's health data.

Democratic state representative and bill author Vandana Slatter stated, "My Health, My Data protects the independence and dignity of individuals when making healthcare decisions." As the authors put it, "It prevents vulnerabilities in the technological age that are being used to target and exploit consumers who may not be aware of the vast data that everything from our watches to our phones collects."

Flo, Ovia, and Period Tracker Period Calendar are just a few smartphone applications millions of Americans use to monitor menstrual cycles and reproductive health.

People are worried that their information in these apps could be used by authorities to enforce abortion bans or restrictions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

In a study last year, it was found that many popular menstrual cycle tracking apps had privacy policies so hazy that users' personal information was at risk. The new rule mandates that businesses get "explicit consent" from customers before utilizing their information for marketing or other commercial reasons.

The "My Health, My Data Act" is one of five pieces of legislation Inslee signed Thursday to safeguard access to reproductive health care. Other recently passed legislation allows for delivering a three-year supply of mifepristone, bans "compliance with out-of-state subpoenas" about abortion and gender-affirming health care, increases safeguards for healthcare providers, and does away with cost-sharing for abortions.

Inslee said, "The right of choice is an issue of freedom." Health care in the state of Washington must continue to be the responsibility of each person. These statutes will prevent tyrannical and intrusive state governments from reaching into the nation's capital.

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