California passes medical privacy bills

According to POLITICO, the California legislative session passed three bills related to medical privacy and data. Governor Gavin Newsom must sign or veto them by 30 September 2020. 

The first bill would relax restrictions in California’s Consumer Privacy Act that grants state residents the right to request companies to delete their personal information. The proposed measure would exempt patient data that is protected by federal medical privacy safeguards. It aims to help efforts to monitor the effects of the Coronavirus on certain patients or drug safety studies. 

A second bill, titled the Genetic Information Privacy Act, is directed to companies that offer consumers genetic tests to trace ancestral roots or learn about potential health risks. The measure will require these companies to detail their practices of collecting, storing, and disclosing data, as well as to secure consumer consent before collection. It also will require them to destroy biological samples within 30 days of a consumer revoking their consent. 

The third bill aims to extend the use of blockchain technology in COVID-19 test verification. It is legal in California for companies to utilise the encrypted, decentralised ledger to verify test results. The proposed measure will require the state medical board to set up a pilot programme on the use of blockchain for this purpose.