Company Executives Read Employee’s Therapy Chat to the Team

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Company Executives Read Employee’s Therapy Chat to the Team
Short Title Executives of the Company That Developed Online Therapy App Read Employee’s Therapy Chat to the Team
Location New York, New York
Date December 2016

Solove Harm Breach of Confidentiality
Information Communication, Medical and Health, Behavioral, Preference, Behavioral, Identifying
Threat Actors Talkspace executives

Individuals
Affected Talkspace employee
High Risk Groups Employees
Tangible Harms Embarrassment

During one of the team meetings, executives of the company that created therapy-by-text app read out loud the messages of one of their employees from his chat with his therapist. They assured it would be anonymous but it wasn’t.

Description

Talkspace is a company that developed an app that lets people text and chat with a licensed therapist throughout the day. One former employee told a story of how the company didn’t adequately respect his privacy. One of the executives came to him with an intimate request. She wanted to give employees a sense of a typical user’s experience. Could she and one of the company’s co-founders read through two weeks of his therapy chat logs and then share excerpts with the staff?

The employee agreed, assured that they would keep him anonymous.

But while they were reading, other people at the company were already looking at this person, understanding who that was. One of the people even approached him afterwards and asked if he was OK.

He describes it as a very embarrassing episode. This is an example of Breach of Confidentiality.

Breakdown

Threat: Executives of the company read enough details from therapy chats that its clear for the team whom this chat belongs to
At-Risk group: An employee
Harm: Breach of Confidentiality
Secondary Consequences: Embarrassment

Laws and Regulations

Sources

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/07/technology/talkspace.html?searchResultPosition=2