Home » News » For many years, these alcohol counseling businesses disclosed patient information to marketers.

For many years, these alcohol counseling businesses disclosed patient information to marketers.

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Image Credit: iTech Post Online alcohol treatment programs As previously reported by TechCrunch, Monument, and Tempest acknowledged sharing private patient information with advertisers for years. Names, birthdates, email addresses, phone numbers, home locations, insurance information, and more "may have been shared" with advertising, according to a notice Monument (which purchased Temple in 2022) submitted with the California Attorney General. The responses of patients to self-evaluations of their drinking habits, which Monument expressly states are "protected" and utilized solely by its care teams, may also have been exposed, according to Monument and Tempest, which both offer tools for patients battling with alcohol addiction. The companies attribute the intrusion to the pixel-tracking software they installed on their websites for marketing purposes. As the US government sent health businesses advice on monitoring pixels in late 2022, according to Monument, the company evaluated its usage of them. Health companies are cautioned by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in a notice that using pixel-tracking software may subject them to legal action for violating patient privacy. Companies like Meta, Google, TikTok, and Pinterest produce pixel trackers, little pieces of code that are frequently inserted into emails, websites, and advertisements. They keep track of information about user clicks and form submissions, which is then used by both parties to develop custom advertisements or better understand their respective user bases. Data leaked Image Credit: Yahoo As stated in its disclosure, Monument discovered that user information had been exposed by its pixel tracking technologies on Tempest's site as far back as November 2017 and on the Monument website as of January 2020. At the end of 2022, Monument claims it had stopped utilizing "most" tracking tools, and by February 23rd, 2023, it had "completely unplugged" them from Monument's websites. The cases of Monument and Tempest are strikingly comparable to recent data breaches affecting BetterHelp, GoodRx, and Cerebral, online health businesses that all used pixel trackers. BetterHelp and GoodRx were recently fined $7.8 million by the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly sharing patient data with Facebook and Snapchat, and Cerebral recently acknowledged disclosing the personal data of more than 3.1 million patients to Google, Meta, TikTok, and other third-party advertisers. According to the corporation, it relies on the "activities you did on the Monument website, the configuration of the tracking technologies," as well as the configuration of the web browser that accessed the site. In the case of Monument, the quantity of information that is revealed varies from user to user. But, according to Monument, the leak did not contain social security numbers or credit card information, and it may have impacted a little over 100,000 people. Read More: TEMPEST: A REVOLUTIONARY PERSONAL WEATHER SYSTEM In a statement sent via email to The Verge, Monument CEO Mike Russell states that "protecting our patient's privacy is a primary responsibility." "We have implemented strong security measures and will keep using the right ones to protect data. Also, we have severed ties with third-party sponsors who refuse to abide by our contractual obligations and the law.

By Omal J

I worked for both print and electronic media as a feature journalist. Writing, traveling, and DIY sum up her life.


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