A reminder: breach of privacy can happen by mailing (as happened to Aetna)

We are accustomed to high-tech breach of privacy, however we should not forget that our personal information can be appropriated also through more traditional mistakes. It happened to Aetna.

The insurance giant sent by mail envelopes with a large clear window through which anyone could see the name and address of the intended recipients. Unfortunately, some letter shifted revealing the patients’ medical information through the window on the envelope.

The letters contained instructions for filling HIV medication prescriptions and this information was seen by family members, roommates, and even neighbors of the intended recipients, in breach of their privacy.

On August 24, 2017, the Legal Action Center and the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania sent a demand letter to Aetna on behalf of individuals in Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C calling for an immediate end to the letters in the current form. The demand letter also calls on Aetna to develop a plan to correct its practices and procedures.

A class action is also being brought.

For more information and for privacy advice, contact Francesca Giannoni-Crystal.