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Apple quizzed by FTC over HealthKit data security

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The Health app in iOS 8
The Health app in iOS 8

Apple is facing questions over whether it is doing enough to safeguard the personal data collected by its new HealthKit platform and consumer-facing Health app.

According to a Reuters report, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States is “seeking assurances” over what the iPhone maker does with users’ medical metrics.

The report says the FTC is particularly concerned with the data captured by the forthcoming Apple Watch, which is capable of capturing and monitoring the wearer’s heart rate.

The Watch, and compatible fitness bands like the Jawbone UP range, will send workout stats like distance and calorie burn back to the Health app, while users are also manually inputting information about their diet.

Apparently, the FTC is eager to ensure there’s no room for interpretation of its expectations for how that valuable data is protected. Specifically, it wants to make sure there’ll be no selling the vital stats on to third parties like marketers or healthcare providers.

The FTC isn’t likely to launch a full investigation into the matter, while Apple claims there is a healthy dialogue between it and regulators around the world regarding HealthKit.

The company says the platform was built “with privacy in mind,” but there’s obviously an extra level of sensitivity required when it comes to users personal medical data.

The potential for the tool for become a vital element of preventative care due to its ability to identify worrying trends at an early stage is huge. However it’s good to know the firm and its partners aren’t just being left to their own devices.

Earlier today we reported news suggesting the UK’s NHS was preparing to give HealthKit its own seal of approval.

Read more: The verdict on HealthKit in iOS 8

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