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Your fever could lead to targeted marketing

Bottles of Clorox disinfectant wipes.
Photo: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Information about your health is quickly becoming a bigger part of Silicon Valley’s targeted-marketing apparatus.

How it works: Data mined from "smart thermometers" helped Clorox target ads for its disinfectant wipes during flu season, the New York Times reports.

  • Clorox partnered with Kinsa, which sells thermometers that sync with users’ smartphones. Kinda has raised about $29 million in venture funding, per the NYT.
  • When the thermometer data showed that lot of people in one area had fevers, Clorox targeted its ads to those zip codes.

“The challenge with Google search or social media or mining any of those applications is you’re taking a proxy signal — you’re taking someone talking about illness rather than actual illness,” Kinsa founder and CEO Inder Singh told the Times.

Amazon also appears to be moving in a similar direction, reportedly patenting technology that would allow Alexa to tell when you’re sick and offer to order cough drops for you off of Amazon.

There are also more direct therapeutic uses. In addition to its marketing data, Kinsa has a partnership with telemedicine firm Teladoc that allows users who use both products to transfer data between the two.

  • "If you have a newborn who has a fever, you need to see the doctor right away and if it’s 3 a.m., I’m very happy to present you the option to talk to a telemedicine doctor,” Singh said.
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