What a Small Moment in the Obamacare Debate Says About Ideological Media

Politics aside, a huge majority of the public agrees that ALL personal information should be protected online, not just when they apply for Obamacare, use electronic health systems, or search online about health.  The right to control the use of personal health data is strongly supported by 95% of Americans.

But like the public, the author doesn’t know that government and corporations already have access to every citizen’s personal health information. See: http://patientprivacyrights.org/truth-hipaa/  HIPAA has not protected our rights to health ‘privacy’ since 2002.

Key conclusions:

  • “The Bush and Obama Administrations both showed with perfect clarity that they don’t give a damn about the privacy rights of Americans; federal bureaucrats serving in both eras have broken the law to hoover up our private information; and every trend points to a federal government intent on expanding its ability to collect information on Americans and share it among agencies. The U.S. has also shown an inability to protect data it stores from being hacked or stolen. Given all that, it isn’t paranoid to imagine that any health information handed over to the federal government won’t remain private for long. A betting man would be wise to conclude that somehow or other, it will at least be seen more widely than Obama Administration officials are promising—especially if additional steps aren’t taken to make the information better protected.”
  • “Outsmarting the most hackish Republicans isn’t enough to fix the flaws in legislation that you championed and passed, substantial warts and all.”

Congress must pass a strong new law soon to giving patients a clear, strong right to control personal health information.  We should decide who can see and use our most sensitive personal information. The nation’s trust in government will only worsen if we cannot protect even our MOST sensitive personal data, from prescription records, to DNA to diagnoses.

deb

This blog was written in response to the following article: What a Small Moment in the Obamacare Debate Says About Ideological Media

Google’s $8.5M Privacy Pact Going To Inapt Orgs, Groups Say

“A coalition of privacy groups [including Patient Privacy Rights] stepped up its opposition to the proposed $8.5 million settlement of a California class action alleging Google Inc. illegally divulged search information, saying Wednesday that counsel has failed to show how the seven organizations chosen to receive cy pres funds are appropriate.”

To view the full article (only available by subscription), please visit Google’s $8.5M Privacy Pact Going To Inapt Orgs, Groups Say.

Scammers Using Police Caller ID Numbers: Alert!

Check out the latest from Debra Diener, courtesy of Privacy Made Simple.

 

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has just issued an alert about the latest scam being used by thieves to steal money and/or personal information (see, scam alert@council.bbb.org, “Scammers Impersonate Police with Spoofed Caller ID”).  Consumers need to be very alert to this ploy. BBB says the scams being used all around the country.

The scammers have gotten hold of a computer program that lets them change phone numbers that can be displayed on Caller ID — the spoofing part of this scam.  The scammers are using this technology to send calls with the right phone numbers of the local sheriff or police offices appearing when the recipients hit Caller ID.

The intended victims see the legitimate phone number, answer the call and are then told by the scammers (posing as the local sheriff or police) that there’s an arrest warrant out for them.  BBB reports that some of the scammers have been using the real names of local sheriffs or police officers in the calls — thus making the threat seem more legitimate.

The scammer tells the intended victim that he can avoid the criminal charge by paying a fine.  Here’s the next part of the scam: the scammer says the fine can only be paid by a money order or pre-paid debit card.

Now many people will see through this scam but others will be scared into doing so — maybe because the scammer uses a real name of a local police officer; or because they might not know what fines could exist for them; or because the scammer already has some personal information about the intended victim.  BBB cited the case of a Detroit-area woman who became a victim because the scammer specifically mentioned a loan she’d taken out (that alone raises more problems about how the scammers got that information).

Consumers should remember these “Do’s” and “Don’ts” to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Don’t wire money: legitimate police forces don’t operate by calling people and asking for money over the phone;
  • Do hang up ASAP: don’t call back as doing so might give the scammers more personal information they can later use for other criminal ends;
  • Do call the real local police or sheriff’s office: let them know about the call so they can alert others in the area; and
  • Don’t give out personal information: scams come in different formats and approaches but they all want the same thing — consumers’ money and/or personal information.

Your prescription history is their business

“A secretive, for-profit service called ScriptCheck keeps track of all your prescriptions, even those you pay for with cash. Life insurers pay for the data.”

To view the full article, please visit: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lazarus-20131022,0,1491023.column#ixzz2miu5cODJ

Prescription drug database bill stalls in Pa. House

To view the full article, please visit: Prescription drug database bill stalls in Pa. House

“A bill that would create a prescription drug database intended to help law enforcement nab doctor-shoppers and pill mills hit a hurdle Wednesday in the state House.”

Facebook Eases Privacy Rules for Teenagers

Vindu Goel ties all the critical factors together in Facebook’s ongoing decisions that eliminate teens’ privacy on Facebook: the history of social media and children, teen psychology and bullying, the EU’s response, and how exposing teens online is driven by Zuckerberg’s quest for ever greater profits.

To view the full article, please visit: Facebook Eases Privacy Rules for Teenagers

Five Public Interest Groups Underscore Opposition To Settlement In Google Privacy Suit

“Consumer Watchdog joined the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and three other public interest groups today in re-iterating their opposition to a proposed $8.5 million settlement in a class action suit against Google for privacy violations in the way it handled users’ search data because proposed recipients of settlement funds don’t represent the interests of the class.”

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1529279#ixzz2i1kPTbJt

Biggest Data Security Threats Come From Inside

PCWorld shared details about a new report showing that “insiders” are the top source of breaches over the last 12 months: 36% of breaches result from “inadvertent misuse of data by employees.” The article goes on to say that, “Obviously, the issue here is ignorance” due to lack of proper training on how to remain secure at work. Additionally, businesses must be able to see what’s happening with their networks; they must pay attention to what’s happening within the company and going out, as well as what’s happening outside the company and coming in.

Bottom line: People need guidance, prevention is key, and patients must have a way to see who all has accessed their information and when it’s been disclosed.  (Read more about PPR’s comments on Accounting of Disclosures here.)

Read the full article here.

Everyone expects information they share to be used only once, for one purpose.

This expectation is not a surprise. This ethical principle is called  ‘single use’ of data.

Humans expect to set and regulate personal boundaries in relationships with others.  We only trust people and institutions that don’t share sensitive personal information without asking us first.

People don’t trust governments or corporations that violate their expectations and rights to privacy, ie, rights to control the use of personal data.

When the US public realizes their rights to health information privacy are violated by hidden government  and corporate use and sale of their most intimate, sensitive information: health data, from prescriptions to diagnoses to DNA—the fallout will be far more devastating than the NSA revelations.

After all, Americans expect some level of government surveillance to protect us from terrorism, but the hidden collection and sale of health data by industry and government is very different: it completely shatters trust in the patient-physician relationship. The lack of trust in electronic health systems already causes 40-50 million people to delay or avoid treatment for serious illnesses, or to hide health information. Current technology causes bad health outcomes.

The Internet and US health technology systems are currently designed to violate human and civil rights to privacy.  The Internet and technology must be rebuilt to restore trust and restore our rights to control personal information.

Deb