Connecting Vets: ‘Disturbing’: VA-recommended apps could access private veteran data, Congress says

“VA-recommended smartphone apps could access veteran data, including phone cameras, microphones, photos, locations, contacts, calendars, files and more.”

“Members of Congress called the potential access or collection of such data by the Department of Veterans Affairs or third parties “disturbing” during a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on data privacy at VA. Lawmakers also were not satisfied with answers from VA officials about how the agency is monitoring the apps with access to that data, or how it holds third parties accountable…”

“The user agreements that come with apps are often hundreds, if not thousands of words long, and lawmakers said they worried that veterans’ trust in VA’s recommendation could put them at risk if they approve those agreements and give the apps permission to potentially access their data…”

“VA officials said many other apps found on most smartphones request the same access. VA Deputy Assistant Secretary and Chief Information Security Officer Paul Cunningham told lawmakers that VA does not “police” the networks of third parties, but that if a breach were discovered “we would take swift action” to investigate. Otherwise, VA can only monitor what it outlines in its third-party contracts…” Read the full article here.

Source: ‘Disturbing’: VA-recommended apps could access private veteran data, Congress says – By Abbie Bennett, February 12, 2020. Connecting Vets.

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