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Mental health platform fined $7M by FTC for sharing data with advertisers

April 30, 2024
healthexec.com
Contributed by: Colin Banas
Summary
Cerebral, a virtual mental health platform, has agreed to a $7.1 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for mishandling sensitive patient data and sharing it with advertisers. The settlement includes utilizing $5.1 million of the fine for partial refunds to users who struggled to cancel services due to deceptive practices. Founder Kyle Robertson is facing potential personal charges, as he was deeply involved in the platform's problematic policies. The FTC's complaint highlighted the platform's failure to safeguard patient privacy, exposing sensitive health information to third-party advertisers and employing questionable patient engagement tactics. As part of the resolution, Cerebral is banned from using health information for advertising and must overhaul its privacy and data security protocols. This action follows a rare self-reporting to regulators by Cerebral in 2022 amidst leadership changes, with the company expressing a commitment to moving forward with enhanced security measures while still offering its services within new regulatory guidelines.
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