Washington state is on the brink of enacting a sweeping law that would upend how businesses collect, share and sell consumer health-related data.

A Washington state bill designed to establish new privacy protections for consumer health data passed this week in the state Senate by a 27-21 vote after advancing through the House.

The development could have serious implications for the sharing and sale of consumer health data for advertising purposes.

Some critics have pointed out that such a far-reaching definition of health-related data may create unnecessary ambiguity. But privacy advocates like Arielle Garcia, chief privacy officer at IPG-owned agency UM Worldwide, say that the definition should incentivize players in the information brokering and advertising spaces to tighten the ropes on their data practices. “All sides of the online marketing and advertising ecosystem would be well-served to heed these signals by proactively limiting the collection and use of health information to what is necessary and aligned with the expectations and interests of consumers. Failure to do so will undoubtedly serve to accelerate the broader regulatory scrutiny of commercial data collection and use…” she says.

Read more in The Drum.