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The Data Drop News for January 22nd, 2021

Updated: Feb 5

WhatsApp privacy policy debacle, Singapore police want contact tracing app data, and US citizens getting more access to healthcare clinic data

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Millions of WhatsApp users have abandoned the app in response to a planned update that would share their private data with Facebook who purchased WhatsApp in 2014. Since the announcement was made last week, over 3 million people have signed up to rival messaging apps like Telegram and Signal.

In response, WhatsApp has pushed back its update to May 15th of this year. The policy change had originally been planned to start on February the eighth.


In Singapore, the COVID response team has updated the privacy policy of the national contact tracing app, TraceTogether. The update authorizes the police to request that citizens share data for use in criminal investigations.

This is a change from the original privacy policy, which stated that data would only be used to help fight the coronavirus outbreak. About 80% of Singapore's population is currently using the app.


Back in North America, a new survey published by OpenNotes has revealed that 54 million patients are now able to access their medical appointment notes online. The survey, which collected data from 266 healthcare systems from across the U.S. and Canada shows that patient access to this data increased by nearly 10% last year when compared to 2019 figures.

The movement for open medical data is being driven in part by the 21st Century Cures Act, a U.S. law enacted in 2016 which requires that healthcare providers offer patients access to the information held in electronic medical records.

And that's your Data Drop minute. The Data Drop Minute is a production of the Data Collaboration Alliance, a nonprofit working at the crossroads of data ownership and inclusive innovation.

The Data Collaboration Alliance is a nonprofit that's dedicated to a future where data is fully-controlled by its owners and a more inclusive generation of technologists are empowered to build data-centric solutions without the friction of complex data integration.


We’re advancing new data management technologies, standards, and methodologies that eliminate the replication of data and place secure collaboration between people and systems at the heart of digital service innovation.


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