In 2018, the tech industry found itself in a harsh spotlight amid a scandal involving a company called Cambridge Analytica, which had collected and used the data of millions of Facebook users, seemingly without their consent. It prompted a public outcry, congressional hearings, a $5 billion fine, and permanently altered the discourse around how social media firms use data.
In the wake of a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, health data privacy is getting its own Cambridge Analytica moment.
With viral calls to delete period-tracking apps and fears that health records could be used to prosecute people seeking abortions who reside in states where it’s now illegal, multiple experts invoked Cambridge Analytica as a reference point for the scrutiny health data practices could rightfully draw. They expressed hope that health care companies would examine their practices but also said that lasting change will require federal policy changes and the teeth to enforce them.
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