Don’t Tread on American Privacy

Privacy Rights in America

The future of privacy rights in the United States of America is uncertain. Many states have passed a patchwork of privacy laws, but there is no federal law that protects the privacy rights of U.S. residents.

In 2022, instead of strengthening privacy rights on the federal level, the focus has been on weakening privacy rights. If the right to privacy is no longer recognized as a constitutional right, there will be numerous unintended consequences.

As a digital user, you must take steps to protect your privacy. First, you should be aware of how third parties access your data. Additionally, you should be cautious about entering your personal data into apps.

Third Party Access

Service providers often allow third parties to access personal data until a user decides to “opt out” by changing their settings or submitting a request. Third parties that purchase and access personal data include advertisers, data aggregators, and law enforcement.

Setting privacy controls is a good step to limit the sharing of personal data. However, if there is a criminal investigation, a service provider could be compelled to hand over personal data in response to a warrant, subpoena, or court order.

While no one can predict exactly how data will be used by a third party, personal data is often used for doxing individuals to harass and intimate them. To avoid being tracked, you should limit or shut off location sharing as much as possible.

Health Apps and Data

Smartphone users enjoy using apps that track various types of health data, such as the “Health” app that is available on Apple devices. According to Apple’s Health app privacy policy, the app has the ability to “consolidate data from your iOS device, Apple Watch and other devices, health records, and apps you use so you can have a more comprehensive view of your health information in one convenient place.”

Apple’s Health app promises to protect your data. The privacy policy states that you have control over the data that you store “in the Health app and which data is shared with third-party apps and people you trust.”

You should consider if you have entered any sensitive data into an app. Most reputable apps should have a way to control your data. As an example, here’s how to delete your private information from the Health app on an iPhone:

  1. Open the “Health” app
  2. Access your Profile
  3. Scroll down to “Privacy”
  4. Click on “Apps” and “Health”
  5. Select “Delete All Data from Heath”

To enhance your digital privacy, always evaluate if you should be putting your private information into an app. Make sure to review the app’s privacy policy and opt-out when necessary.

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Alice is a member of the Florida Bar, and she focuses on data privacy and cybersecurity compliance in her law practice. She attended the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. After graduating, she earned a Juris Doctor at the Stetson University College of Law. During law school, she served as an Assistant Executive Editor for Stetson Law Review and also as a Staff Editor for Stetson Journal of Advocacy and the Law. She currently serves as Chair of The Florida Bar Journal/News Editorial Board.