Numerous concerns have been recently raised by security experts on the safety of the personal information submitted on the government’s HealthCare.gov website. According to a report from the Associated Press, an independent analysis of HealthCare.gov found that dozens of data firms had access to sensitive personal information about visitors to the site, including ages, income levels, locations, whether the person is a smoker, and whether the person is pregnant. Because vendor management is often the weakest link in a business’s security plan, the number of outside connections to the government’s website is causing alarm.
There is no evidence that personal information from HealthCare.gov has been misused, but the nearly 50 outside connections to the site is raising questions among security experts and consumers alike. Some of these experts have issued dire warnings on how sensitive user information could be leaked by the government health care marketplace. The third-party firms with embedded connections on HealthCare.gov cannot see your name, but the information could easily be found by correlating your visit with other personally identifiable browsing activity from sites such as Facebook or Amazon.
The privacy issues associated with HealthCare.gov could be another headache for the Obama administration after the botched rollout of the marketplace last year. The administration aims to have more than 9 million people signed up on the health care website by the end of the enrollment period on February 15. Last week, President Obama announced a broad plan aimed at protecting consumer data. The issue is expected to arise again during the State of the Union address tonight.