Medical Records Privacy Problems
American University and the Center for Digital Democracy have published a report about the privacy of medical records. It's focus is wearable devices, but the principles there are general. If Fitbit or Apple can sell a record of my sleep and pulse to an insurance company, others will too.
This is not a new problem, but it is a serious one. Back in 1906, Samuel Adams described the sale of medical letters to brokers and other fraudsters in a series of articles to Ladies Home Journal that were appended to his 1905, "The Great American Fraud."One of the most disgusting and disgraceful features of the patent medicine business is the marketing of letters sent by patients to patent medicine firms. Correspondence is solicited by these firms under the seal of sacred confidence. When the concern is unable to do further business with a patient it disposes of the patient's correspondence to a letter-broker, who, in turn, disposes of it to other patent medicine concerns at the rate of half a cent, for each letter.
Adams goes on to describe the sales food chain that existed at the time and how they preyed on the sick and emotionally vulnerable, mostly to sell ineffective, dangerous and addictive drugs.
I have not read the report yet, but this summary makes things sound grim.http://mashable.com/2016/12/16/wearable-health-data-privacy-report/
I do not agree with them that "personalized" health insurance is anything good, or that unregulated data collection will lower the cost of anything. These records only create a brokerage market for patients to be bought and sold like cattle. Personalized insurance polices may be what insurance companies would like, but they are the opposite of group shared risks that insurance is supposed to be. According to Wendell Potter and other whistle blowers, insurance companies have been using computerized records to dump sick people for decades. The end result of that "personalization" was not a reduction in average premiums, it was a cost shifting that increased costs for everyone.
The problem also exists in any medical device or office that uses non free software. The privacy of those records can't be protected because the office and device makers don't have real knowledge or control of the software.
The report mentions the sweeping changes the Trump administration likely represents. One very bad sign of things to come is the weird tech meeting that happened last week. Google, Apple Oracle, Amazon, and Facebook representatives shared the room with Microsoft's puppet CEO and Trump's kids. In a less publicized meeting, Bill Gates had Trump all to himself.