Apple being questioned by the FTC regarding health data protection

iOS 8 (Health, teaser 001)

The US Federal Trade Commission is seeking assurances from Apple that it will prevent sensitive health data from being used without the users’ consent, reports Reuters. The outlet says Apple representatives have met with FTC officials multiple times in recent months to discuss the matter.

More specifically, the FTC wants to be sure that Apple will not sell health data collected by its upcoming smartwatch and other devices to third party marketers, or allow app developers to do so. It also wants to be sure proper measures are being taken to protect the data against malicious attacks.

Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told Reuters that it works closely with regulators around the world, including the Federal Trade Commission, to describe built-in data protections for its services. “We’ve been very encouraged by their support,” she said, indicating that the talks are going well.

Apple introduced HealthKit in June as a platform for aggregating health data culled by third-party apps and accessories into a single database. In September, the company updated its App Store guidelines with new rules that forbid apps from sharing HealthKit information or storing it in iCloud.

Additionally, Apple recently launched a new privacy site in an effort to increase transparency on how it protects user data, and to educate users on how they can better protect themselves. In a letter published on the site, Tim Cook makes it clear that Apple is not in the business of selling user data.