The Flemish Health Insurance Fund does not take privacy laws very seriously.
So it turns out in an investigation by VRT NEWS. 4 out of 5 mutual funds share customer information about your browsing habits to marketers. This allows the marketer to build a profile of you. The health insurance companies are not at all transparent about this, in violation of European privacy laws. Advertisers know exactly when you look up information about your mental health, for example. They then use this information to show you personalized ads and influence your behavior.
Imagine that you have been feeling gloomy for some time. You search Google for information and end up on a health insurance company’s website. There you can read more about the symptoms you have – perhaps you can take an online test to see if you are suffering from a medical condition.
Meanwhile, advertisers get access to your browsing habits through the health insurance fund. They place cookies, small text files, on your computer or phone. Those cookies can recognize you and start tracking you around the Internet.
Health insurance companies do not follow privacy rules
The health insurance companies surveyed do not comply with privacy rules in several areas. This puts unsuspecting website users at risk of having their (medical) personal data fall into the hands of advertisers.
Under current privacy laws, cookie notices must clearly inform which cookies a website uses, and why. That way you are immediately informed and can decide whether to allow the cookies.
But the health insurance companies are not at all transparent about their cookie policies. For example, if you surf to the website of the Socialist Mutual of Brabant (FSMB), you will see the following:
Read more in this article on VRT news