California Patient Claims Meta Secretly Scanned Her Medical Data

Law360 (July 27, 2022, 7:20 p.m. EDT) — Facebook parent company Meta has been hit by a proposed class action lawsuit claiming its tracking software covertly harvested a California woman’s sensitive medical data to distribute to her. targeted ads, the second such lawsuit filed against the company in as many months.

In dispute Filed Monday evening in federal court in California, a woman identified as “Jane Doe” claimed that Meta’s popular Pixel tracking tools – pieces of computer code embedded in millions of websites around the world – collect data about his medical conditions entered into online portals operated by Francisco-based San UCSF Medical Center and Dignity Health Medical Foundation without his knowledge or consent.

The proposed class action lawsuit names Meta and the two healthcare facilities as defendants and accuses the companies of violating federal and state privacy and consumer protection laws.

“Meta is aware that user data collected through its Pixel on defendant healthcare websites includes highly sensitive medical information but, in reckless disregard of patient privacy, continues to collect, use and derive profit from such information,” the lawsuit said.

Specifically, the Jane Doe filing Monday’s lawsuit said that after disclosing her heart and knee problems on online portals for healthcare facilities, she received targeted advertisements for drugs and related treatments on her Facebook page, emails and text messages.

The lawsuit is at least the second federal lawsuit alleging Meta is using its Pixel technology in the healthcare sector unlawfully to be filed in as many months. In June, another unnamed hospital patient claimed that the tech giant swept the same way his sensitive data which he entered into an online portal operated by the MedStar Health System in Baltimore.

Both lawsuits state that neither Facebook nor any of the hospitals that use the Facebook Pixel on their websites have obtained the necessary permissions to collect and share this data, as required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.

Monday’s lawsuit also accuses Meta and the healthcare companies of violating invasion of privacy laws, enriching themselves unjustly by profiting from sensitive medical data and violating California data privacy law. medical information.

Representatives of Meta, health care facilities and the proposed class did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

The proposed class is represented by James M. Wagstaffe and Frank Busch of Wagstaffe Von Loewenfeldt Busch & Radwick LLP, Carol C. Villegas, Michael P. Canty and Melissa H. Nafash of Labaton Sucharow LLP and Christian Levis, Amanda Fiorilla and Rachel Kesten of Lowey Dannenberg PC.

Information about Meta’s lawyers was not available Wednesday.

The case is Jane Doe v. Meta Platforms Inc., et al., Case Number 3:22-cv-04293, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

–Edited by Steven Edelstone.

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