World Privacy Forum: California, Don’t Weaken Californian’s Health Privacy Laws

July 21, 2012 San Diego, California — Today the World Privacy Forum filed comments on California’s plan to harmonize existing California state law to federal health privacy laws. California’s health privacy law, the CMIA, offers Californian’s stronger privacy protections than national level health privacy laws. WPF urges California to reconsider its plan to weaken Californian’s privacy. Executive director Pam Dixon said “The harmonization plan coming out of California’s Department of Health and Human Services is not in harmony with California patients and their health privacy.”

WPF’s comments, filed jointly with EFF, the ACLU, and others, found significant problems in the proposal in terms of both the substance of what was said and the procedure of how the proposal was crafted. The groups complained that the proposal was crafted largely without public input and lacked political legitimacy. In the comments, the groups also detail the lack of explanation for why the weakening was necessary.

The overall impact of the proposal is not good news for California patients. “If this harmonization proposal is turned into a piece of legislation, which is the stated intent, the CMIA will be weakened, and that is a negative outcome for Californians,” said Dixon.The groups recommend that the proposal be fully redrafted with much greater public participation and more thought for negative privacy impacts.

The groups’ joint comments are available on the WPF web site.

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