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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Artificial intelligence-based systems have been shown to reliably recognize and diagnose certain conditions but according to a new study, the privacy of your health history may be at risk due to the advances in AI.
Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley looked at two year’s worth of health data from more than 15,000 Americans and found that it is possible to identify individuals by learning their daily patterns collected by activity trackers, smartwatches and smartphones, and then correlating it to demographic data.
They say due to AI advancements, regulations within 1996’s HIPAA legislation are incapable of keeping health information safe and private.
“HIPAA regulations make your health care private, but they don’t cover as much as you think,” said UC Berkeley engineer Anil Aswani. “Many groups, like tech companies, are not covered by HIPAA, and only very specific pieces of information are not allowed to be shared by current HIPAA rules. There are companies buying health data. It’s supposed to be anonymous data, but their whole business model is to find a way to attach names to this data and sell it.”
Researchers say the problem isn’t with the devices, but with how the information the devices capture that can be misused and potentially sold on the open market.