EPIC, National Consumer Law Center Urge Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to Limit Harmful Tracking and Disclosure of Private Health Information

March 21, 2024

In an amicus brief filed in Vita v. New England Baptist, EPIC and the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) urged the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts to find that the undisclosed and unconsented collection and sharing of private health information via pixels or similar tracking technologies constitute an illegal wiretap under the state’s Wiretap Act. Harmful data practices like surveillance advertising are fed by these types of surreptitious data collection and sharing technologies, which largely remain unknown to users. EPIC and NCLC’s brief supports plaintiffs’ arguments in three ways. First, state and federal wiretap laws protect consumers against invasions of privacy and should extend to these types of online disclosures in the digital age. Second, the hospitals failed to disclose such tracking and sharing of health information and the hospitals at issue should not be free from liability by disclosing such collection and sharing in the future. Third, the non-consensual sharing of private medical information constitutes an injury that provides plaintiffs with standing. EPIC regularly advocates for limiting harmful surveillance tracking practices online and for heightened protections for patients’ private health information online.

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