EFF challenges expanded U.S. HHS surveillance of COVID-19 patients

The US based digital rights non-profit, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed comments in opposition to the new plans of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to expand how the federal government collects, uses, maintains, and shares personal information to contain the spread of COVID-19. Through a new platform called ‘HHS Protect’, the HHS will be allowed to collect personal information about physical and psychological health history, drug and alcohol use, diet, employment, and ‘geospatial records’. The platform could also allow the sharing of these vast data sets with other federal agencies, unspecified outside contractors, and even ‘student volunteers’. The platform also includes provisions for the permanent retention of data with ‘significant historical and/or research value’.