European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS)’s Opinion 1/2015 on m-health

On May 21, 2015, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) published Opinion 1/2015 (Mobile Health – Reconciling Technological Innovation with Data Protection). The opinion acknowledges that Mobile Health (“mHealth”) is a rapidly growing sector stemming out of the convergence between healthcare and ICT. mHealth includes mobile applications designed to deliver health-related services through smart devices.

Big Data, together with the IoT, is expected to have a significant impact on mHealth because of the volume of information available and the quality of inferences that may be drawn from such information. This may cause users to lose control over their personal information.

The Data Protection Supervisor suggested the adoption of the following:

  •  the EU legislator should, in future policy making measures in the field of mHealth, foster accountability and allocation of responsibility of those involved in the design, supply and functioning of apps;
  •  app designers and publishers should design devices and apps to increase transparency and the level of information provided to individuals in relation to processing of their data, implementing privacy by design;
  • industry should avoid use Big data in mHealth to harm individuals (e.g. by drawing discriminatory profiling);
  •  the legislator should enhance data security and encourage the application of privacy by design. At the same time, the Opinion encourages the Internet Privacy Engineering Network (IPEN) to test new best practices and innovative solutions for mHealth.

Finally, the EDPS stresses the importance of cooperation between data protection authorities around the world, especially considering the global dimension of data processing within mHealth.

The full text of the opinion is available at…                  Open Pdf


For more info, Francesca Giannoni-Crystal

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