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Web Letter

Paul Duguid in discussing Daniel Solove's new book touched on the lack of privacy of health information. "In the healthcare debate, much more has been made about the government possibly prying into our health records in the future than about private insurers doing so in the present."

Actually, a key focus of Patient Privacy Rights, the nation's leading health privacy watchdog, has been to draw attention to the massive corporate theft and misuse of everyone's personal health information. Americans' right to control the most sensitive personal information that exists about them was eliminated by government design from electronic health systems. See "The Elimination of Consent."

Americans' sensitive health information, from prescription records to DNA, is now the foundation of a huge and largely unknown expansion of the vast international commodities market for personal data.

Personal health data is worth hundreds of billions in annual revenues to the health data mining industries and their corporate and government customers, which include insurers, for-profit research corporations, data aggregating and warehousing industries, pharmaceutical corporations, medical device corporations, data analytics corporations, major employers, financial institutions, health technology corporations, fusion centers, etc., etc.

There is no end to the uses that private corporations and government agencies can come up with for our personal health data--which have nothing to do with improving our health.

It should not be a surprise that the most valuable digital information about us is our health information. And the biggest problem with the theft of our health information is that this data is used to discriminate against us by employers, banks, insurers and even schools.

Patient Privacy Rights and the bipartisan Coalition for Patient Privacy work to restore the traditional ethical and legal rights Americans have always had to control their personal health records.

No one should ever have to choose between seeing a doctor and having a job.

The use of "smart" technologies can strengthen our privacy rights, not eliminate them. But all of us have to demand that these privacy-enhancing technologies are used.

Please help restore your right to health privacy by signing the Do Not Disclose petition to demand that Congress stop the theft of our health information and restore our rights to control who can see and use personal health information.See: http://patientprivacyrights.org/do-not-disclose/

See last week’s Fox TV interview that describes the lack of health privacy and the Do Not Disclose petition.

Deborah C. Peel, MD

Austin, TX

Apr 4 2010 - 1:25pm

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