Medical Data Privacy
News and Updates:
12/22: In response to the -- unnecessary -- elimination of our Constitutional medical privacy rights by the Supreme Court last summer, the IDH students are doing the unthinkable: Extending the olive branch between pro-choice and pro-life groups so they can come together for fight against digital surveillance of our most intimate (and dangerous) data. Click here to learn more about "Privacy for All. Period."
10/22: Before they got famous (in Vice), the super rad grad students at Northeastern universe who fought against their school's (super creepy) use of heat tracking surveillance were interviewed by the IDH. Watch it on IDH TV here.
(Also, our Midweek Update on medical data privacy is pretty hilarious.)
Dr. McKain got asked to holler at the Minneapolis City Council re: their drone policy. He got a little excited. Watch that here. (Dr. Mckain starts at around the 1:06:26 mark)
Why is medical data privacy important:
Our privacy is under attack with continuously developing technologies and little-to-no government regulation. Health data privacy in recent years has seen an uprise in lack of security specifically. With the onset of the COVID pandemic, there’s been an increase in “solidarity-based healthcare,” which promotes public health at the cost of personal privacy.
While we would like to think our health data is secure and our own, big data tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon all have contracts with hospital systems. These contracts allow the companies to access and sell millions of personally identifiable health records without patient input. While much of this health data is de-identified, a study a few years ago proved that this data is often easily "re-identifiable."
IDH's MidWeekUpdate Presents:
legal Problems with medical data:
Despite the severe need for privacy regulation, there is only a patchwork of mostly outdated laws that support our privacy, both in the healthcare field and otherwise. And all too quickly we lose track of our own health data. Who has it? What is it used for? Why do they need it? These valid questions unfortunately are too often left unanswered.
Using this data, people are able to assess who you are prior to even meeting you, often for marketing purposes. This means that while you’re offering private information to address your health, companies are taking advantage of your vulnerability to make money. In addition to this data being sold for profit, this information is being used to make decisions about you. An employer might pay for a service to determine your eligibility for employment based partially on your healthcare data; An insurance company might deny coverage because of this data; and so many more aspects of your life are influenced by this health data you share in a private setting. Your data is being used for people to decide what you can and can’t do before you even decide for yourself. Common sense, if not common decency, says our health information stays between you and your doctor. Your health record is no one else’s business.