[Also posted at http://hipaahealthlaw.foxrothschild.com/]
This case has nothing to do with HIPAA, but should be a warning to zealous covered entities and other types of business entities trying to give patients or consumers more information about data privacy than is required under applicable law. In short, giving individuals more information is not better, especially where the information might be construed as partially inaccurate or misleading.
“[M]isrepresent in any manner, expressly or by implication: (A) the options through which, or the extent to which, consumers can exercise control over the collection, use, disclosure, or sharing of information collected from or about them or their computers or devices, or (B) the extent to which consumers will be provided notice about how data from or about a particular consumer, computer, or device is collected, used, disclosed, or shared.”
So while many HIPAA covered entities and other businesses may want to give consumers as much information as possible about data collection, the lesson here is twofold: first, make sure the notice is required under applicable law (and, if it’s not, be sure the benefits of notice outweigh potential risks); and, second, make sure the notice is 100% accurate to avoid FTC deceptive practices claims.