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Posts Tagged ‘privacy’

Stop the presses!

You know how you have to initial a HIPAA form every time you go to a doctor’s office, or a hospital, or a car wash? We Americans like to think our medical records are sacrosanct, we deserve privacy, in fact we demand it. That boil the size of a baseball we had removed from our back in high school – nobody needs to know.

Until now.

Google wants to know our medical history! It’s bad enough they are already taking pictures of our backyards and listening in to our wants and needs, sneaking ads into social media like a flickering lightbulb to a moth. Google has cut a deal with Ascension Health to access troves of its patient data:

Among the data Google reportedly has access to under the deal are lab results, diagnoses, records of hospitalization and dates of birth.

Neither doctors nor patients need to be told that Google can see this information.

The Wall Street Journal reports that data access began last year and was broadened over the summer. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50388464

Ascension runs 2,600 hospitals, including St Thomas in Nashville.

Along with an overnight dusting of snow, this bit of news sent a chill down my spine. What’s worse is their data trolling started last year! While we’re busy attacking Elizabeth Warren about Medicare for All, this corporate giant stuck its finger in the cookie jar. “Ascension said the deal would help it to “optimise” patient care and would include the development of artificial intelligence (AI) tools to support doctors.” Sorry for the British spelling but I’m quoting the BBC.

Wasn’t I just talking about doctors and AI? I know this is the generation of solipsistic selfies, living their lives online, charting every meal, video taping every hotel room, uploading their songs to YouTube in search of InstaFame. Jumping onto Tic Toc which I don’t even understand.

I had an appointment with a retina specialist yesterday at Vandy, about my little West Nile incident 20 years ago, and people were sitting like zombies in a dark, crowded waiting room with dilated pupils staring into their smart phones. HGTV was on in the corner but everyone was glued to their tiny black mirror. I was thinking to myself, why not get rid of all the TVs in doctor waiting rooms, and what kind of neck problems will this generation have?

I still thought we had a right to our own medical records. And granted, this blog is a peek into the window of my soul, but do we no longer care about privacy… at all?

Send in the lawyers! Here is my lame attempt at a selfie in that old ice cream parlor.

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Sit down, take a load off. We’re not talking about Weight Watchers here; we’re going to talk about warrantless wiretapping. Just because you think they’re watching you…doesn’t mean they are, does it? I have to admit that conspiracy theories will always get my attention. Then I move on, attributing most of the paranoid delusional rhetoric to a bunch of crazies. But this past weekend, I was staying up late with Real Time and Bill Maher on HBO. Getting the TV fixed definitely cuts into my healthy sleep habits. Welcome back Bill to your new season you are the Left’s answer to Rush Limbaugh. Maher routinely comes up with one or two-liners like this: “I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what’s philosophically wrong with Republicans. It’s like asking what’s intellectually wrong with lobsters.” http://www.real-time-with-bill-maher-blog.com/real-time-with-bill-maher-blog/2013/1/18/party-foul.html

But his closing soliloquy left me sleepless in Cville. Now it’s probably not a good idea to lay your head down on your pillow after hearing that we Americans have just been giving most of our fundamental rights away without so much as a whimper. I’m talking about all of us, red and blue Americans and any other colorful configurations. He pooh poohed the idea that we are losing our 2nd Amendment rights and got right to the heart of the matter, saying,

“The Senate quietly reauthorized the National Defense Authorization Act while everyone was so concerned about the fiscal cliff, and there wasn’t even a peep out of the “freedom” crowd. In fact, people seem to be okay with government surveillance and warrantless wiretapping at this point….Does anyone care that this is the new normal?” I was lying awake and thinking about baby robotic drones overhead stealing my ideas about how to make a better lasagna.

Then I read this – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/23/google-transparency-report_n_2537153.html Now everybody knows that one usually needs to acquire a warrant from a judge before snooping through a private citizen’s home. But your email and internet searches are another matter; maybe your mail box is federally protected, but your inbox is fair game. “From July to December 2012, Google revealed, the company received 8,438 total requests for information about 14,791 users or accounts in the United States. Requests were up 34 percent from 2011 to 2012.” Yes folks, requests from law enforcement went up 34%!! I wonder what the stats will be for 2012 to 2013. The article goes on to say that only 22% of the time is a warrant involved; the FBI and/or police will simply write up an administrative subpoena.

It’s good to know that privacy advocates and Google (Facebook would you chime in here) are trying to reverse this trend, and hats off to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) for passing an amendment to reform the very broad law ironically titled the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which was passed by Congress in 1986 based on technology at the time. In 1986 the Rocker was 2 years old and we all were wearing shoulder pads! Leahy spearheaded his plan for governing internet surveillance in November saying this is the first step in corralling the Department of Justice, “…growing and unwelcome intrusion into our private life in cyberspace.” Still I’m not too hopeful it will go anywhere in our congenial House of Representatives.

The Tea Partyiers are worried the government will take away all their guns; that helicopters will be landing in their back yards. That’s why they need assault weapons. Maybe the “freedom” they are fighting for is misleading? Maybe both parties need to worry more about how incrementally we have given up our right to privacy. Background checks to buy a lethal weapon? Sure. Emails and social media about a shoe sale in Cville – What? Technology races ahead while civil liberty law limps along trying to play catch-up.
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