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USA: Public health emergency privacy bill introduced to House and Senate

U.S. Representative Anna G. Eshoo announced, on 14 May 2020, that she, along with U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky and Suzan DelBene, and U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Mark Warner, introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate a bill for the Public Health Emergency Privacy Act ('the Bill'), which seeks to protect the privacy of health information during a national health emergency. In particular, the Bill aims to set strong and enforceable privacy and data security rights for health information, specifically in response to the COVID-19 ('Coronavirus') public health emergency.  Furthermore, the Bill would limit the use of data collected for public health emergencies and prohibit the use of health data for discriminatory, unrelated, or intrusive purposes including commercial advertisement, e-commerce, or efforts to prevent access to employment, finance, insurance, housing, or education opportunities.

Moreover, the Bill introduces data security rights for individuals in relation to the use and disclosure of their demographic and emergency health data, including a right to opt out and an effective mechanism to exercise these rights. In addition, the Bill would prohibit manual contact tracing, establish data retention periods, introduce a private right of action, and, if passed would come into effect within 30 days with rulemaking power given to the Federal Trade Commission seven days after its enactment.

You can read the press release here, read the Bill here, and track its progress here.