Position Statement – 2023
S.158 (Kreuger)/ A. 4983 (Rosenthal)
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (“WBASNY”) supports the passage of S.158/ A. 4983, which would provide for the protection of health information by ensuring that healthcare applications abide by Health Insurance Portabililty Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”).
This legislation creates a legal framework for residents to reclaim and retain control of their healthcare information. Electronic applications and websites that are designed to provide a diagnosis or retain health information to receive affirmative consent from the patient to: (a) retain such information or (b) to sell such information to third parties.
Most New York residents believe HIPAA protects healthcare data being accessed by third-parties; applications and websites compile healthcare information for sale to third parties. This information can include tracking menstruation cycles, which can be sold to anti-abortion advocacy organizations. This legislation would end this insidious practice and allow New Yorkers to have peace of mind when using healthcare applications and websites.
Additionally, this legislation also bans the practice of using geolocation data at healthcare facilities to target advertisements to individuals. Many companies offering healthcare products, treatments, or alternatives currently use geofencing at healthcare facilities to identify potential customers for their products and send targeted advertisements to users.
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) is the professional membership organization of choice for nearly 4,000 attorneys throughout New York State and the largest statewide women’s bar association in the country. For more than four decades, WBASNY has been a singularly important resource for women lawyers, providing professional networking, continuing legal education programming, leadership training, and advocacy for the rights of women, children, and families. Through involvement with WBASNY’s 20 regional chapters and its 40-plus substantive law committees, WBASNY’s members collaborate with one another on a variety of issues and perform public and community service, in furtherance of its mission to promote the advancement of the status of women in society and women in the legal profession; to promote the fair and equal administration of justice; and to act as a unified voice for its members with respect to issues of statewide, national and international significance to women generally and women attorneys in particular. WBASNY holds United Nations NGO status with the U.N.’s Department of Public Information, and Special Consultative status in association with the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). WBASNY is also a founding member of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations.