Apple Watch fitness

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is pressing Apple on how it plans to use sensitive data from users collected through the company’s new Health app and upcoming Apple Watch wearable, according to a new report from Reuters.

Specifically, the report claims Apple has met with the FTC several times in recent months to stress that it will not sell its users’ health data to third-party entities such as marketers or allow third-party developers to do so.” The meetings come as the FTC makes it a priority to keep a close eye on privacy concerns related to new health apps coming out on all platforms, according to Reuters.

Apple and the FTC didn’t comment specifically on the meetings, but Apple did provide the following comment:

Apple said it works closely with regulators around the world, including the FTC, to describe built-in data protections for its services. “We’ve been very encouraged by their support,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told Reuters… “We designed HealthKit with privacy in mind”

Reuters does note, however, that there are no signs Apple’s talks with the FTC will turn into a formal investigation into Apple’s new healthcare related products. Apple is reportedly utilizing health data protection lawyer Marcy Wilder to consult on privacy issues related to its health products and also considering appointing an in-house health privacy czar,” Reuters reports.

In September Apple published new developer guidelines for its HealthKit platform including requiring developers provide a privacy policy, not store health data in iCloud, and not use data for advertising or data mining, among other rules. 

The news that Apple is facing scrutiny from the FTC over how it plans to handle health data comes ahead of the company’s new health and fitness focused Apple Watch smartwatch expected to launch in the Spring of next year.

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