Rather than beat up on the NSA on data privacy matters, you may need to look no farther than your healthcare provider. Your doctor or local clinic will be means by which the federal government will know more about you than any intelligence agency. HHS should be more of a concern, not the FBI, NSA, CIA, DIA, or any other national security entity.
If your family uses Aetna, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, or UnitedHealthCare, your “de-indentified” personal healthcare information is being used in a national study that includes various federal agencies (non of which include the NSA, CIA, DoD). You can read more about the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), here. As far as “de-identified” information (a term used by the HCCI and other groups to ameliorate data privacy concerns), as the Snowden leaker case demonstrates, when the data and keys fall into the wrong or unscrupulous hands bad things happen.
Do you think your electronic healthcare data is safe and secure?
According to a recent article in a leading healthcare data trade publication, “Bloomberg News, working with Harvard University professor Latanya Sweeney, reported on June 4 that some patients of Washington hospitals could be identified by name and have their conditions and procedures exposed when a database sold by the state for $50 is combined with news articles and other public information.” You can read the entire story by following this link.
In the very near future, data privacy is going to become on of the leading public policy issues of our time. While there is a cottage industry in DC that lobbies and monitors these issues, most Americans have no idea what is afoot. States are also starting to weigh in heavily in the data business. Data collection is not all bad, however, without a clear set of legal rules that protect Constitutional rights, it can become a recipe for disaster.
If the new socialized medical system (ObamaCare) is ever taken online, HHS will have a lot more data on you than any of the intelligence agencies will ever care to have. It will also become one of the most damaging forms of regulatory overreach ever in our nation’s history. It will put the New Deal and the Great Society to shame.
One of the better CIA Directors in recent times, Michael Hayden, has talked a great deal about data privacy issues. He did an interview on Fox News that is spot on with regards for the need for national discussion on data privacy, intelligence, and related matters. I will post as soon as I find it. Here is a more recent interview that is worth a look: