With growing data privacy controversy over the use of tracking tools and analytics embedded in health-related websites, it’s becoming increasingly important for entities to carefully and proactively consider how they are using these technologies, said Ian Cohen, CEO of privacy compliance firm Lokker.
“Getting your website in order requires you to not just look at what’s wrong. You’ve got to start from the other side of the equation and figure out what you actually need,” Cohen said. “Taking a reactive approach to this is getting companies in trouble.”
Indeed, in recent months the Federal Trade Commission has issued at least two enforcement actions against entities in data privacy cases involving the use of website tracking tools that collected and transmitted personal information to third parties – Meta, Google and other companies – without consumers’ consent.
Also, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has signaled it plans to take enforcement actions against entities that violate HIPAA by using online tracking technologies (see: HHS OCR Leader: Agency Is Cracking Down on Website Trackers).
“We are coming out of an era where the idea that you should gather all the data you possibly can is proving to be very dangerous,” Cohen said in an interview with Information Security Media Group.
“You just have to take the opposite approach and figure out exactly what you need in terms of these third parties, exactly what data you need to track and, most importantly, what data you need to store.”
In this interview with Information Security Media Group (click audio link below photo), Cohen discusses:
- How to assess the risks of using tracking and analytics tools on websites;
- The latest emerging privacy considerations for using these tools;
- Advice for preventing potential breaches and privacy violations associated with these technologies.
Prior to founding Lokker in 2021, Cohen served as CEO for Credit.com and chief product officer for Experian, where he focused on consumer-permissioned data.