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Privacy-Beware of the Data Snatching Algorithms on the Web Some of This Relates to Healthcare and How You are Bought & Sold-Impo

Posted Mar 29 2011 4:12pm

I am actually very happy they made this video to explain how this is done as over the last few years I have made tons of posts on privacy and how to safeguard and not be too gullible.  The video actually addresses information relative to “behavioral analytics” here too, used by insurance companies.  Laugh and snicker but I will say this one more time… image

ONE MORE TIME IN CASE YOU HAVE MISSED IT –IT’S ALL ABOUT THOSE ALGORITHMS AND QUERIES/SQL STATEMENTS

Remember Walgreens recently said their intangible market of data is worth over $700 million and we have Ingenix, the wholly owned subsidiary of United Healthcare that has been selling data for years from medications data bases and maybe more, along with Milleman.  Last week a lawsuit was filed.  I think this is kind of funny though as we used to worry and some folk still do about pharma having access, well think twice as the web is lot worse with access and the threat of pharma is still there for using data but it has been hugely overshadowed. 

This is also why I suggest when using devices that report data, such as heart rates, etc. to be sure and ask as to where the information goes, who else has access and if the information being sent is encrypted.  The best bet is to do it yourself with a PHR like HealthVault so where you are not caught up in any coupons, advertising or having to sign away any kind of hidden acknowledgements.  Watch out for those as the words can be tricky so read carefully. 

Here are 2 companies that sell prescription data and profiling information. 

image image

“HIPAA does not give the Department of Health and Human Services the ability to directly investigate or hold accountable entities, such as pharmacy benefit managers or companies such as Ingenix and Milliman, who are not covered by HIPAA.”

Do you like those bottles that remind you to take your pills, gotcha once more with data to sell so read the disclosures on all of these types of programs and devices. 

Vitality and AT&T Selling Glow Caps Prescription Bottle on Amazon-Compliance Help and Also Creates Data for Sale

Now the company that produced the video also offers a free scan and has services to sell and that’s beyond where I will go here and my purpose is to rather bring an awareness around with letting folks know what the algorithms are collecting about you and the video is good and again I have written a ton of posts on the topic.  The website has some good free information you can read though as well with common sense advisories.  image

Habits and Identities Revealed via Coupons – Facebook Fan Pages Can Make User ID Visible – Shopping Algorithms Reduce Privacy And Increase Visibility

Below is an image from the wall Street Journal that shows some of the applications that were exploiting the information in the past.  When you get a ton load of queries running with many applications without each entity having their own security strongly in place, this type of stuff appears. 

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We had the story about the website Patients Like Me that was breached too by a user disguised as a forum member.

Patients Like Me Experienced Data Mining Through a Data Mining Research Firm Break In –The Nielsen Company

Behavioral analytics are big stuff today with people wanting to predict how much money things are going to cost, so much that this healthcare group has a $3 million dollar bounty out there to fine the magical algorithms that can cut their costs.  It goes without needing to be said today that all insurers want this data so they can predict and assess what you are going to cost, they all do it and pay and sell our data for big bucks.  Do think this adds on to the high price of healthcare?  Somebody has to be paid for those algorithms <grin>. 

The FTC is somewhat trying to look into this matter too with the Consumer Watchdog filing their complaint.  Blue Cross has an entire unit dedicated to studying behavioral analytics and some pilot programs going with collecting data with active participants giving permission.  Yes, you heard that right, some said this is ok and everyone can make their own decision and if money or incentives are dangled out there, it can make a difference with a decision. 

Consumer Watch Dog Group Files Complaint with the FTC Regarding Data Mining, Profiling Algorithms–Privacy With Health Information At Risk With Insurer and Employer Usage

Also worth a look is the Invasion of the DNA Snatchers too, so you can be up to date on where technology is being used.

One final statement before I close here and I’ll give you a link to the original post I made about 3 years ago with Warren Buffett and his words of wisdom “Beware of Geeks Bearing Formulas” and he said that, and I agreed 3 years ago and look at how and where it has progressed today.  When you have written code, there’s no doubt on what the possibilities are for people to use it for good and perhaps not so good.  It’s done all the time and you probably just don’t know it as servers work 24/7 behind the scenes where as humans we still need sleep.  BD 

Want to know what happens to all the information you freely divulge about yourself on the Internet? Information brokers and data scrapers voraciously harvest your data, correlate it and then sell profiles to people finder firms, insurance companies, employers and others.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has compiled this list of the data brokers and data scrapers, image

The Journal reported that it is happening in a story about how insurers test data profiles to identify risky clients, and The New York Times has also written about data sharing in the health industry.

Video shows what happens Marketers, data brokers and online advertisers are in a race to the privacy bottom. The more personal data points they absorb online, the higher their CPMs, the higher their revenue. We can't rely on the self-policing mechanisms of these industries to protect consumers; it goes against their business goals. to data you freely divulge - USATODAY.com


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