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July 17, 2018

Health Data and Privacy in the Digital Era

Author Affiliations
  • 1O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  • 2University of Missouri School of Law, Columbia
  • 3Centre for Health Law, Policy, and Ethics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 4Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
JAMA. 2018;320(3):233-234. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.8374

In 2010, the social networking site Facebook launched a platform allowing private companies to request users’ permission to access personal data. Few users were aware of the platform, which was integrated into Facebook’s terms of service. In 2014, Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based political consulting firm, developed a data-harvesting app. That app prompted Facebook users to provide psychological profiles, including responses such as “I get upset easily” and “I have frequent mood-swings” as part of a “research project.”1