Profiles For Sale: How Bits Of Captured Data Paint A Valuable Picture Of Your Health

Here’s a fun activity. Let’s look at my credit card statement from last month. Among other things, I paid for a pair of athletic leggings, four movie tickets, and two beers and a plate of nachos at a nearby restaurant. (Maybe I should not have put the latter two on my credit card — see below.)

So, would you hire me? Would you offer me a high-interest loan? Can you tell if I’m sick?

What if I told you my pants size or how many hours a week I watch Netflix?

Individually, these discrete pieces of data may appear useless. But data-broker companies can easily combine them to create “mosaics” about our health and health status, and such personal information is in high demand, explained Adam Tanner, whose book “Our Bodies, Our Data” details how it is collected, sorted and sold.

It would be illegal under patient privacy laws for your doctor to reveal information about your diseases, unhealthy habits or weight.

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