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Groups Bring Complaint to FTC on Health Sites

ONLINE PRIVACY—U.S.

November 24, 2010

The Center for Digital Democracy, U.S. PIRG, Consumer Watchdog and the World Privacy Forum are asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the marketing used by a number of health Web sites. The New York Times reports that the groups' complaint charges that some sites are not transparent enough about how they track people through online heath searches, create user profiles and market to users' conditions. The main concern, said Ed Mierzwinski of U.S. PIRG, is that employers or health insurers could get hold of the profiles. "You could be searching for health information about your cat or your neighbor and it could end up harming your healthcare in terms of denial or increased cost," said Mierzwinski. (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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