Many people know technology firms are collecting data about what they buy or “like” online. But they might be surprised to learn just how much information companies gather in more private areas of our lives, such as health and wellbeing. Platform companies from Amazon to Google to Apple are getting deep into the health-care field, allowing us to do everything from communicate with doctors to check on prescriptions. The privacy implications are troubling. The number of health-care and wellness apps have proliferated in recent years. Mobile applications can help monitor blood sugar, or track fitness information or transmit health data to our doctors in real time. But they are also surveilling consumers at the same time — gathering, analysing and, in many cases, selling sensitive data. In many countries, personal health-care data are subject to strict regulation. In the US, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act imposes criminal and civil penalties for breaching confi...

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