WebMD California Privacy Policy

This PRIVACY NOTICE FOR CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS supplements the information contained in the Privacy Policy of WebMD LLC and its subsidiaries (collectively, “we,” “us,” or “our”) and applies solely to our users who are residents of the State of California (“consumers” or “you”) in relation to your use of our owned and operated websites that are intended for use by consumers (non-professionals) for non-commercial personal, family or household purposes, including WebMD.com, MedicineNet.com, RxList.com, OnHealth.com, and eMedicineHealth.com and including the mobile optimized versions of these sites and our Mobile Device Applications or "Apps" (we refer to these sites and Apps collectively as the “WebMD Sites”). We refer to the WebMD Sites and Apps, along with the information and services made available to you through the WebMD Sites and Apps, as the “Services”. 

We adopt this notice to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”) and other California privacy laws.  Any terms defined in our Privacy Policy or in the CCPA have the same meaning when used in this notice.

Information we collect.

We have collected the following categories of information from consumers within the last twelve (12) months:

Category

Examples

Collected

A.  Identifiers.

A real name, alias, postal address, unique personal identifier, online identifier, Internet Protocol address, email address, account name, Social Security number, driver's license number, passport number, or other similar identifiers.

Yes

B. Personal information listed under Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.80(e).

A name, signature, Social Security number, physical characteristics or description, address, telephone number, passport number, driver's license or state identification card number, insurance policy number, education, employment, employment history, bank account number, credit card number, debit card number, or any other financial information, medical information, or health insurance information. Some personal information included in this category may overlap with other categories.

Yes

C.  Protected classification characteristics under California or federal law.

Age (40 years or older), race, color, ancestry, national origin, citizenship, religion or creed, marital status, medical condition, physical or mental disability, sex (including gender, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy or childbirth and related medical conditions), sexual orientation, veteran or military status, genetic information (including familial genetic information).

Yes

D.  Commercial Information.

Records of personal property, products or services purchased, obtained, or considered, or other purchasing or consuming histories or tendencies.

Yes

E.  Biometric Information.

Genetic, physiological, behavioral, and biological characteristics, or activity patterns used to extract a template or other identifier or identifying information, such as, fingerprints, faceprints, and voiceprints, iris or retina scans, keystroke, gait, or other physical patterns, and sleep, health, or exercise data.

Yes

F.  Internet or other similar network activity.

Browsing history, search history, information on a consumer's interaction with a website, application, or advertisement.

Yes

G.  Geolocation data.

Physical location or movements.

Yes

H.  Sensory data.

Audio, electronic, visual, thermal, olfactory, or similar information.

No

I.  Professional or employment-related information.

Current or past job history or performance evaluations.

No

J.  Non-public education information.

Education records directly related to a student maintained by an educational institution or party acting on its behalf, such as grades, transcripts, class lists, student schedules, student identification codes, student financial information, or student disciplinary records.

No

K.  Inferences drawn from other personal information.

Profile reflecting a person's preferences, characteristics, psychological trends, predispositions, behavior, attitudes, intelligence, abilities, and aptitudes.

Yes

Certain information that we collect identifies, relates to, describes, references, is capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular consumer or household (“personal information”).

Personal information does not include:

  • Publicly available information from government records.
  • De-identified or aggregated consumer information.
    • Information included in categories D, E, F, G and K is collected and used in a de-identified and/or aggregated manner.
  • Information excluded from the CCPA's scope, such as:
    • health or medical information covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA) or clinical trial data; or 
    • personal information covered by certain sector-specific privacy laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA), the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) or California Financial Information Privacy Act (FIPA), and the Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994.

Categories of sources from which information is collected.

As described in our Privacy Policy, we may obtain the categories of personal information listed above from the following categories of sources:

  • Directly from you, such as when you register with WebMD.
  • Indirectly from you, such as information we may collect in the course of providing the Services.
  • Directly and indirectly from your activity on our Sites and Apps, as described below under Services and device information and Cookies and other tracking technologies
  • From third parties that interact with us in connection with the Services, such as from consumer data providers for research and analytics purposes as described below under Use of your personal information.

Services and Device Information

When you access and use the Services, WebMD automatically collects and stores in its server logs information from your browser or mobile device such as your IP address or unique device identifier, browser information (including referring URL), your preferences and settings, cookies and information about the content you have viewed and actions taken (e.g., search queries, ad engagement, clicks and the associated dates and times). WebMD may also collect device-specific information when you install and use an App including your device model, operating system information, advertising ID (which is a unique, user-resettable identification number for advertising associated with a mobile device) and App version and usage information. When enabled by you, we collect precise location information provided by your mobile device, which you may disable through the device settings.

Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

We and our partners use cookies to collect information about your use of the Services. “Cookies” are small data files assigned to your browser when you visit a WebMD Site which enable recognition of your browser and collect and store information about your use of the Services, as described above. In addition to cookies, we and our partners use other tracking technologies that collect information about your use of the Services, including mobile identifiers and "web beacons" which are small graphic files (sometimes called “clear GIFs” or “web pixels”) embedded in a web page or email typically used to monitor activity and send relevant information back to a home server (which can belong to the host site, a network advertiser or some other third party). The information collected by such tracking technologies may be combined with other information that our partners have access to, including your name, email address and physical address, so that we can send you materials, either electronically or by direct mail, that may be of interest to you. 

Our advertising service partners may use cookies and other tracking technologies to collect information about your use of the WebMD Sites, including content you have viewed. These third parties may use this information to help WebMD deliver advertising on the WebMD Sites and on other third party websites based on your browsing activity on the WebMD Sites. WebMD may further tailor the advertising on the WebMD Sites and these other third party websites based on additional information to the extent known by WebMD or these third parties. Two of the third parties that WebMD works with are Google and Facebook. In addition to using the information it collects performing services for WebMD, Google may also use such information as described in its privacy policy. To see how Google may use information collected through our use of the Google services on the WebMD Sites visit https://www.google.com/policies/privacy/partners. While Facebook does not provide any personal information to WebMD, Facebook may use information that it has about you and that it collects performing services for WebMD (which may be associated with personal information that Facebook has about you) as described in its privacy policy available at https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy.

We also work with third party ad networks to display advertising on our WebMD Sites and on third party websites. Our ad network vendors use technologies to collect information about your activities on the WebMD Sites and in our flagship WebMD App to provide you cookie-based targeted advertising on our WebMD Sites and on third party websites based upon your browsing activity and your interests.

For more information about our how cookies and other tracking technologies are used in connection with the Services, please read our Cookie Policy.

When you download and install one of our Apps onto your mobile device we assign a random number to your App installation. This number cannot be used to identify you personally, and we cannot identify you personally unless you choose to become a registered user of the App. We use this random number in a manner similar to our use of cookies as described in this Privacy Policy and in our Cookie Policy. Unlike cookies, the random number is assigned to your installation of the App itself and not a browser, because the App does not work through your browser. Therefore the random number cannot be removed through settings. If you do not want us to use the random number for the purposes for which we use cookies, please do not use the Apps. Our use of cookies and other tracking technologies on our mobile optimized sites and our flagship WebMD App are similar to our use on our desktop sites. Your choices to reject cookies, use the Network Advertising Initiative and the opt-out mechanism described below in the section "Your Choices and Rights" are available on our flagship WebMD App and on our mobile optimized sites.

Use of personal information.

Your personal information included in each of categories A, B and C described above may be used for the following business purposes:

  • to provide, improve and create new Services,
  • to respond to your inquiries and to send you administrative communications about the WebMD Sites and Services,
  • to obtain your feedback about the WebMD Sites and Services,
  • to send you secure electronic messages and personalized emails pertaining to your interests as inferred from your use of the Services, including news, announcements, reminders and opportunities from WebMD,
  • to statistically analyze trends and user behavior and activity including how frequently areas of the WebMD Sites are visited, how the Services are being used and how many emails are received and opened,
  • to provide you and people with similar demographic characteristics and interests with more relevant content including advertising both on and off the WebMD Sites and Apps,
  • to offer lead generation services,
  • to detect and defend against fraud and other threats to the Services and our users, 
  • to identify issues with the Services,
  • to conduct research and measurement activities, including those described below, and
  • to administer your account.

In addition, WebMD may use personal information about you for other purposes that are disclosed to you at the time we collect the information and/or with your consent.

WebMD may combine your personal information and other information collected about your use of the Services, and also supplement with information from external sources for the purposes described in this privacy notice. For example, information that WebMD collects about you may be combined by WebMD with other information available to WebMD through third parties for research and measurement purposes, including measuring the effectiveness of content, advertising or programs. This information from other sources may include age, gender, demographic, geographic, personal interests, product purchase activity or other information. We may report aggregate information, which is not able to be identified back to an individual user of the WebMD Sites, to our current or prospective advertisers and other business partners.

Sharing your personal information

Personal information disclosed for a business purpose

We may share your information with our subsidiaries, affiliates and companies acquired by or merged with us and our affiliates.

WebMD works with third party companies that help us provide the Services and to otherwise assist in the operation of the WebMD Sites and Apps, including those that provide services relating to technology, data analysis, research, email management and deployment, sweepstakes and contest administration, advertising and marketing and/or content. WebMD service providers sometimes have limited access to your information in the course of providing products or services to WebMD. We contractually require that our service providers not use or disclose your information for any purpose other than providing the limited service or function for WebMD.

In the preceding twelve (12) months, we have disclosed your personal information included in each of categories A, B and C for a business purpose.

We disclose your personal information for a business purpose to the following categories of third parties: (i) service providers, and (ii) third parties to whom you or your agents authorize us to disclose your personal information in connection with the Services.

Personal information “sold” to third parties

We may share information that we have about you, such as a cookie ID or IP address, with third party advertising partners who may use this information, on our behalf, to help WebMD deliver advertising on the WebMD Sites as well as on third party websites.

In the preceding twelve (12) months, we have made available your personal information included in category A to third parties for advertising services.

For more information about our use of cookies and other tracking technologies, please read our Cookie Policy.

We do not sell the personal information of consumers that we know are minors under 16 years of age without affirmative authorization as required under the CCPA.

Your rights

The CCPA provides California consumers with specific rights regarding their personal information. This section describes your CCPA rights and explains how to exercise those rights.

Access to specific information and data portability rights

You have the right to request that we disclose certain information to you about our collection and use of your personal information over the past 12 months. Once we receive and confirm your verifiable consumer request, we will disclose to you:

  • the categories of personal information we collected about you.
  • the categories of sources for the personal information we collected about you.
  • our business or commercial purpose for collecting or selling that personal information.
  • the categories of third parties with whom we share that personal information.
  • the specific pieces of personal information we collected about you (also called a data portability request).
  • if we sold or disclosed your personal information for a business purpose, two separate lists disclosing:
    • sales, identifying the personal information categories that each category of recipient purchased; and
    • disclosures for a business purpose, identifying the personal information categories that each category of recipient obtained.

You may only make a verifiable consumer request for access or data portability twice within a 12-month period. 

Deletion rights

You have the right to request that we delete any of your personal information that we collected from you and retained, subject to certain exceptions. Once we receive and confirm your verifiable consumer request, we will delete (and direct our service providers to delete) your personal information from our records, unless an exception applies.

We may deny your deletion request if retaining the information is necessary for us or our service providers to:

  • complete the transaction for which we collected the personal information, provide a good or service that you requested, take actions reasonably anticipated within the context of our ongoing business relationship with you, or otherwise perform our contract with you.
  • detect security incidents, protect against malicious, deceptive, fraudulent, or illegal activity, or prosecute those responsible for such activities.
  • debug products to identify and repair errors that impair existing intended functionality.
  • exercise free speech, ensure the right of another consumer to exercise their free speech rights, or exercise another right provided for by law.
  • comply with the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (Cal. Penal Code § 1546 seq.).
  • engage in public or peer-reviewed scientific, historical, or statistical research in the public interest that adheres to all other applicable ethics and privacy laws, when the information's deletion may likely render impossible or seriously impair the research's achievement, if you previously provided informed consent.
  • enable solely internal uses that are reasonably aligned with consumer expectations based on your relationship with us.
  • comply with a legal obligation.
  • make other internal and lawful uses of that information that are compatible with the context in which you provided it.

Right to opt out of the sale of your personal information

You have the right to opt out of the sale of your personal information subject to certain exclusions as described below. Once we receive your request, we will not sell your personal information, unless an exclusion applies. We may request that you authorize the sale of your personal information after 12 months following your opt-out. 

The CCPA excludes certain transfers of your personal information from what constitutes a sale thereof:

  • As directed by you:
    • When you direct us to intentionally disclose your personal information or use the Services to intentionally interact with us or a third party (provided that third party does not sell your personal information, unless that disclosure would be consistent with the CCPA).
  • Opt-out signal:
    • We may share an identifier for you if you have opted out of the sale of your personal information for the purposes of alerting third parties of your election.
  • Service provider:
    • We may share your personal information with a service provider that is necessary to perform a business purpose as described above if both of the following conditions are met:
      • we provide notice of the sharing and your opt-out right as described herein.
      • the service provider does not further collect, sell, or use the personal information of the consumer except as necessary to perform the business purpose.
  • Change of control:
    • We may transfer to a third party your personal information as an asset that is part of a merger, acquisition, bankruptcy, or other transaction subject to certain requirements described in the CCPA.

We are unable to process opt-out requests across devices or the Apps for advertising services described herein. For example, if you opt out on your browser, we are not able to honor that request if you are using one of our Apps due to our practices and the limitations described above. Please see below on how to opt out across devices.

Exercising access, data portability and deletion rights

To exercise the access, data portability and deletion rights described above, please submit a request to us by either:

  • Calling us at (866) 967-1408.
  • Clicking here.

By calling the toll-free number or using the above link, you will be asked to provide certain identifying information, such as name, email, residency and date of birth, which we will only use to process or verify your request. You will be asked to validate your request by clicking a validation link in an email that will be sent to the email address provided.

The verifiable consumer request must:

  • Provide sufficient information that allows us to reasonably verify you are the person about whom we collected personal information or an authorized representative.
  • Describe your request with sufficient detail that allows us to properly understand, evaluate, and respond to it.

You may be asked to provide further verifying documentation, such as proof of residency and identity.

Only you or a person registered with the California Secretary of State that you authorize to act on your behalf, may make a verifiable consumer request related to your personal information. You may also make a verifiable consumer request on behalf of your minor child. If you are making a request through an authorized agent acting on your behalf, such authorized agent must provide proof of written authorization to do so, and you must verify your identity directly with us, unless such authorized agent provides proof of a power of attorney pursuant to Probate Code sections 4000 to 4465.

We cannot respond to your request or provide you with personal information if we cannot verify your identity or authority to make the request and confirm the personal information relates to you.  Making a verifiable consumer request does not require you to create an account with us.  We will only use personal information provided in a verifiable consumer request to verify the requestor's identity or authority to make the request.

Exercising your opt-out right.

You may exercise your opt-out right by visiting our website and clicking the “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” link in the footer or by visiting here.

Response Timing and Format

We endeavor to respond to a verifiable consumer request within 45 days of its receipt.  If we require more time (up to 90 days), we will inform you of the reason and extension period in writing.  Any disclosures we provide will cover a period of no less than 12 months preceding the receipt of a verifiable consumer request.  The response we provide will also explain the reasons we cannot comply with a request, if applicable.  For data portability requests, we will select a format to provide your personal information that is readily useable and should allow you to transmit the information from one entity to another entity without hindrance.

We do not charge a fee to process or respond to your verifiable consumer request unless it is excessive, repetitive, or manifestly unfounded.  If we determine that the request warrants a fee, we will tell you why we made that decision and provide you with a cost estimate before completing your request.

Non-Discrimination

We will not discriminate against you for exercising any of your CCPA rights. Unless permitted by the CCPA, we will not:

  • Deny you goods or services.
  • Charge you different prices or rates for goods or services, including through granting discounts or other benefits, or imposing penalties.
  • Provide you a different level or quality of goods or services.
  • Suggest that you may receive a different price or rate for goods or services or a different level or quality of goods or services.

We may provide a different level of Services if the difference is reasonably related to value provided by your data.

Changes to this privacy notice

We reserve the right to change or modify this privacy notice and any of our Services at any time and any changes will be effective upon being posted unless we advise otherwise. By continuing to use the Services after changes are made to this privacy notice, you agree to such changes.  We encourage you to periodically review this privacy notice for the latest information on our privacy practices.

Contact information

Please send us an email by using the Contact Us link at the bottom of every page of the WebMD Sites if you have any questions about this privacy notice or the personal information we maintain about you. We will respond to your request within a reasonable timeframe.

You can also contact WebMD’s Privacy Office at:

WebMD LLC
Attn: Office of Privacy
1201 Peachtree Street, NE
400 Colony Square, Suite 2100
Atlanta, GA 30361
Phone: (866) 967-1408

Effective Date: January 15, 2020

Last updated on January 15, 2020
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