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Privacy Groups Fault Online Health Sites For Sharing ­ser Data With Marketers


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Quality Health Web site

QualityHealth.com is one of the Web sites listed in a complaint filed by privacy groups to the Federal Trade Commission.

QualityHealth is a popular health Web site with more than 20 million registered users that offers online medical information and email newsletters on a variety of topics, including diabetes, allergies, asthma and arthritis.

But according to a complaint filed Tuesday with the Federal Trade Commission, site visitors who provide personal details about themselves might not be aware that QualityHealth collects information about people’s medical conditions, preferred medicines and treatment plans and uses it to profile its users for prescription drug marketing.

Rob Rebak, the chief executive of QualityHealth, a company also known as Marketing Technology Solutions of Delaware, did not return a request for comment.

QualityHealth is one of a number of companies cited in the complaint to the F.T.C. filed by four nonprofit privacy and consumer advocacy groups. In the complaint, the Center for Digital Democracy, U.S. PIRG, Consumer Watchdog and the World Privacy Forum charged that online marketing of medications, products and medical services posed fundamental new risks to consumer privacy and health because of sophisticated data collection and patient-profiling techniques.

From The New York Times
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