What is the Pixel, and why is it following you online?
This article was produced in partnership with Tokio Marine HCC – Cyber and Professional Lines Group.
Desmond Devoy of Insurance Business America sat down with EK Keller, Underwriting Manager, Tokio Marine HCC – Cyber & Professional Lines Group, to discuss the rise in cyber privacy lawsuits.
In this environment, cyber insurers provide guidance to customers when it comes to the collection of personal information for visitors to websites.
Online pixel tracking is of particular concern, resulting in an increase in lawsuits.
EK Keller, Underwriting Manager, Cyber, “We have seen a wave of class action lawsuits against healthcare providers and other businesses due to the alleged unauthorized collection of personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI).” & Tech E&O for Tokio Marine HCC – Cyber & Professional Lines Group (CPLG), a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies based in Houston, Texas.
danger of pixels
But why is pixel tracking a problem?
“Federal law, state law and HIPAA require patient consent and business agreements to share PHI between companies,” he said. “Businesses may not even be aware that the data these trackers are collecting may require consent.”
Companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google all use pixels to track customers online.
“(Pixels are) an analytics tool that helps you measure your advertising companies by monitoring the actions of people on your website. Simply put, it is code that allows you to collect user actions and behaviors on a website. allows to do and track,” he said. “They measure and improve the effectiveness of online advertising and user interactions with that website.” Pixels can be added either manually by the developer or through partner integration.
Keller himself has seen Pixels in action online.
“Have you ever wondered why the same shoes you saw on Amazon are now showing up on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and even in your personal email?” He asked. “It’s just an example of some of the technology behind the scenes.”
These pixels are an essential component of our online existence.
“Our online world is all about advertising,” Keller said. “These advertisers track and learn from user behavior as they move between websites and use retargeted ads to help increase conversion rates, making tracking pixels essential.”
Embedded tracking pixels tell us which websites you visit, specifically which product pages, buttons you clicked, what kinds of field words you use, geographic location information, and even Device used (iPad, laptop, tablet, etc.)
Keller said, “The collected information is sent back to companies like Facebook, Google, etc., who use that data to re-target ads to a company.
All that an average shoe company wants to do online is sell you a shoe, or even better, several shoes.
But why is pixel tracking a problem?
Lawsuits are on the rise
Recent lawsuits have accused the companies of collecting HIPAA protected information through healthcare provider patient portals, which can include appointment details, health conditions, treating physicians, test results, allergies and other sensitive information. , “all of which are claimed to potentially be sent to Facebook,” he said.
Where rubber is hitting the road for insurance companies, there are settlements. Mass General Brigham Health System in Boston agreed to pay $18 million in 2022 to settle a class action lawsuit over the use of web analytics tools that collected data about visitors who used its website, according to Bloomberg Law. does. Mass General has denied the suit’s allegations, according to Bloomberg, but says it uses tracking tools from companies like Facebook and Google.
“In addition to exposure organizations may face class action lawsuits, infringement notification is and Regulatory Fines and Penalties Coverage It can also be triggered,” Keller said.
So how wide are pixels? According to Keller’s research, 30% of the top 80,000 most popular websites have pixels embedded. They are also embedded in 33 of the top 100 hospital websites in the US.
“Our view is that it is best to ask our customers to create their own plan of action to address this growing concern,” Keller said. “And we encourage them to do certain things.”
Specifically, Keller recommends:
- identify all websites and portals that contain pixel tracking (a tag that tracks user behavior);
- confirm whether the customer is collecting sensitive personal information; And
- Confirm that the data being collected complies with applicable data privacy laws and includes appropriate consents and disclosures.
In this process, where applicable, Keller urges that you “seek necessary legal advice to ensure compliance, as this evolving cyber landscape is difficult to navigate. It is important for customers to know how their cyber insurance will protect them.” We encourage you to reach out to your cyber and tech underwriting team to learn more about the solutions a cyber policy may offer for this risk.”
Biography: EK Keller is based in Atlanta, GA. He is the Underwriting Manager of Tokio Marine HCC – Cyber & Professional Lines Group, part of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies based in Houston, Texas, managing its Cyber and Technical Errors and Omissions team for the Southeast. He provides underwriting and customer support, providing a variety of insurance solutions that include comprehensive first- and third-party coverage for cyber, multimedia, and technology errors and omission risks. He has been in the industry since 2007 and is with the company since 2021.
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