Period tracking apps would have to adhere to new Washington state health privacy laws if this bill passes

Social media lit up with an ominous warning last year, after the Supreme Court rescinded the constitutional right to an abortion: Stop using period tracking apps.

That’s because the health information people provide to period tracking apps and other health sites are not protected by federal privacy laws like HIPAA.

Some lawmakers in Washington state want to change that, and have introduced a bill around how consumer data is shared.

Democratic Rep. Vandana Slatter represents Washington’s 48th legislative district, which covers much of the Eastside, including Redmond, Bellevue, and Kirkland. She is sponsoring HB 1155, which addresses the collection, sharing, and selling of consumer health data.

“Someone can actually track you, and target you, in some way that can be really harmful,” Slatter said.

Slatter said the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn abortion rights piqued her interest in health data privacy. Her proposed measure would make it illegal to sell any type of health data.

Republican Jim Walsh said he supports protecting a person’s privacy, but said this bill focuses too much on what he calls hot button issues.

“Why do we need to use incendiary language, like about abortion?” Walsh said.

HB 1155 is set to be presented to the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee. Its companion bill in the state Senate, SB 5351, is sponsored by Sen. Manka Dhingra who represents District 45

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