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Facebook has taken a step to stop collecting sensitive health data through apps in response to an investigation of New York Department of Financial Services

New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) has now acknowledged that Facebook has finally taken some good steps to impose a policy that prevent it from collecting the sensitive data of users. Before that, Facebook was involved in collecting unauthorized data about the medical condition of people like diagnoses, blood pressure readings, and even fertility reports. Such personal data was shared with the giant tech on regular basis by the app developer who has download Facebook’s Software Development Kit, which is a part of the services of Facebook. Therefore, DFS criticized that Facebook that it failed to justify its previous collection of sensitive data of users, and therefore, it was called for further federal action.

It is the major duty of large internet companies to protect the privacy of their users and are not allowed to share such privacy with a third party. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that there was a lack of standards, online rules, and regulations which has led to destructive data collection and its sharing has compromised the privacy of many New Yorkers. Therefore, we have decided to take some serious actions to make these bad actors accountable and to create a strong privacy protection policy. Cuomo called for the DFS probe after the Wall Street Journal report.

Facebook has said the developers not to share the private data of users but has not taken any steps to force these rules. There are the chances that if Facebook continues to do business with such developers again means that Facebook does not want to police these rules. Facebook may be taking financial benefits from the sensitive data of users, but it should understand that the privacy of its users is more important than profit.

In response to an investigation by DFS, Facebook has now implemented a screening system to recognize and block sensitive information of users before entering the Facebook system. Facebook has now taken it seriously to maintain the privacy of its users and has clarified to the app developers that it is their duty to prevent the sensitive data of users from being shared. DFS thinks that clarifying the duties to the developers is not enough because they already know the prohibition of sharing sensitive information, Facebook needs to do more to stop sharing sensitive information in the first place rather putting it on the screening system afterward.

The spokesperson of Facebook has said that sharing of sensitive data of users is an industry-wide problem and the company is trying its best to address these challenges, our policy does not allow sharing sensitive medical information and that is not what we want. We have also made a policy to educate the advertisers to set-up and use our business tools to reduce this problem to an acceptable level.

Nurphoto / Getty Images

H/T: WSJ.

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