Commissioner Investigating Babylon by Telus Health App

April 21, 2020

Information and Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton has launched investigations into the Babylon by Telus Health virtual healthcare app. The investigations were opened after concerns were identified in separate privacy impact assessments (PIAs) that a Calgary-based physician and Babylon Health Canada Limited had submitted on the app.

“No one is required to use Babylon by Telus Health. I encourage physicians or patients with concerns about this app to remain opted out of using it while my office reviews the app’s compliance with Alberta’s privacy laws,” said Clayton.

Section 64 of the Health Information Act (HIA) requires health custodians to submit a PIA for review by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) for any new or changed administrative practice or information system relating to the collection, use or disclosure of individually identifying health information.

Generally, during a PIA review the OIPC will work with the health custodian to address concerns prior to deciding whether the PIA will be accepted.

Since the app is already in use and compliance concerns were identified during the PIA review, the Commissioner decided to open an investigation on her own motion under section 84(1)(a) of HIA into the Calgary-based physician’s use of the app. Opening the investigation provides the Commissioner with more powers under section 88 of HIA.

Another investigation will determine whether Babylon Health Canada Limited is complying with the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), Alberta’s private sector privacy law. The Commissioner’s investigation into Babylon Health Canada Limited is opened under section 36(1)(a) of PIPA.

As these are active investigations, no additional details are available.

A timeline for these investigations is not known. A public report may be issued.