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AG Nessel Issues New Consumer Alert Tied to Protecting Private Health, Location Data

LANSING – In the wake of the recent United States Supreme Court decision regarding abortion, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a new consumer alert focused on consumer protection measures residents can enact right now to protect their personal information companies obtain when you sign up for certain services, like phone applications that track fertility and menstrual cycles. 

The Protecting Private Health and Location Data Consumer Alert is now available on the Department’s alerts page.  

“There are a lot of unknowns as we face a post-Roe era in this country, but one thing that remains certain is that consumers can protect themselves and their private information,” Nessel said. “I implore Michigan residents to read the fine print in the user agreements for applications and programs because their registration often gives companies the right to sell personal information to other companies that can then make it available to advertisers, or whoever wants to pay to obtain it.” 

Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission on how to protect personal data: 

  1. Compare options on privacy. When considering a health app, ask some key questions:
    • Why does the app collect information?
    • How does the app share that information – and with whom?
    • Then choose the app with the level of privacy preferred. 
  2. Take control of personal information.
    • Do app settings let the user control the health information the app collects and shares? 
    • Is the app up to date? 
  3. Know the risks.
    • Are the app’s services worth risking personal information getting into the wrong hands
  4. Report concerns. Do you think a health app shared personal information without permission? 

For more information, additional guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Earlier this week, Nessel clarified that currently, Michigan providers cannot be prosecuted for providing abortion care due to an injunction issued by the Court of Claims last month in Planned Parenthood of Michigan v Attorney General of the State of Michigan.