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    Facebook’s Addition of Organ Donor Status Raises Concerns

    May 09, 2012
    Facebook announced that a new feature added on May 1 allows people to add organ donation status to their profiles. According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, some lawmakers and organ donation advocates are applauding the company for the new feature, but others are warning about the dangers. Deven McGraw, director of the U.S. Center for Democracy and Technology, warns that medical information on Facebook isn't protected under healthcare privacy laws, noting, "The sensitivity of health information underscores the need for there to be some baseline regulations on privacy protection to guard people." Tim Mackinen, a spokesman for Gift of Life Michigan, said that in his state, a Facebook declaration is legal and is just as good as being on the donor registry. However, using the donor registry is preferred, he said, because a user’s privacy settings may make it necessary to gain access to the user’s Facebook page to see the donation preference, which would cause a delay.
    Facebook announced that a new feature added on May 1 allows people to add organ donation status to their profiles. According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, some lawmakers and organ donation advocates are applauding the company for the new feature, but others are warning about the dangers. Deven McGraw, director of the U.S. Center for Democracy and Technology, warns that medical information on Facebook isn't protected under healthcare privacy laws, noting, "The sensitivity of health information underscores the need for there to be some baseline regulations on privacy protection to guard people." Tim Mackinen, a spokesman for Gift of Life Michigan, said that in his state, a Facebook declaration is legal and is just as good as being on the donor registry. However, using the donor registry is preferred, he said, because a user’s privacy settings may make it necessary to gain access to the user’s Facebook page to see the donation preference, which would cause a delay.

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