Facebook knows a ton about your health. Now they want to make money

Source: Kirsten Ostherr, Rice University (Washington Post) (Paid Registration)

In early April, MSNBC reported that Facebook recently launched a project based in its secretive “Building 8” group to get hospitals to share anonymized patient data with them. The project was reportedly put on hold in the wake of the current scandal, but the stated plan was to match hospitals’ patient data on diagnoses and prescription information with Facebook so the company could combine that data with its own to construct digital profiles of patients.

Even setting aside the voluminous evidence showing that true anonymization of data is virtually impossible, Facebook’s stated intent was never to leave the data anonymized. But requesting the hospitals’ data in that form would allow Facebook to sidestep the issue of obtaining patients’ consent, as required by federal law.

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