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US lawmakers introduce new bill to protect personal health and location data

The UPHOLD Privacy Act aims to protect citizens’ personally identifiable data—relating to location and health—from being sold to advertisers

US lawmakers on March 3 introduced a new bill to protect citizens' personally identifiable data—relating to location and health—from being sold to advertisers. The bill is called the Upholding Protections for Health and Online Location Data (UPHOLD) Privacy Act was introduced by Democratic senators Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Mazie Hirono. “For too long companies have profited off of Americans’ online data while consumers have been left in the dark [...] By stopping the use of personal health information for commercial advertising and banning the sale of location data, this legislation will put new protections in place to safeguard Americans’ privacy while giving consumers greater say over how their sensitive health data is shared online." — Senator Amy Klobuchar Why does this matter: The bill is primarily targeted at protecting abortion-seeking women from the repercussions of the US Supreme Court overturning federal abortion protections. Ever since this decision has come out, there have been concerns over how health data collected by period tracking apps and other online platforms can be misused and weaponised against those seeking abortions in states where it is allowed. "Recent reports have illustrated how social media companies are collecting and data brokers are selling location data that could be used to identify women seeking reproductive health care services," the senators pointed out. But this is the third such bill introduced since the Supreme Court decision. The other two have been forgotten over time without making much progress in the US Congress. “Since the reversal of Roe, data…

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