Advertising websites have the ability to obtain a sizable chunk of personal data provided by users of Healthcare.gov.
Following up on a January 20 Associated Press report, a congressional analysis confirmed that in many instances, personal data collected by Healthcare.gov is shared with companies like Google, Yahoo, Twitter, and Advertising.com.
The type of information acquired by these companies includes age, income, zip code, use of tobacco, and pregnancy.
These new revelations prompted House and Senate Republicans to send a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell on January 30 demanding an explanation and further information about how the department can protect the privacy of its users.
Healthcare.gov does attest that it, “never collects information for commercial marketing or any purpose unrelated to our mission and goals.” Whether sites like Google and Advertising.com qualify as “commercial marketing” remains an open question.
This is not the first time privacy concerns have been raised about the Obamacare website. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) advocated a boost in security measures after the site was hacked in September 2014.