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Tag Archives for " health "

Health experts call for the GDPR revision for cross-border health data sharing

Health experts are urging EU policymakers and legislators to review the EU’s legal data protection framework, the GDPR, which is hampering the sharing of pseudonymised health data outside the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA).

The report calls for adapting or expanding the existing legal framework to overcome challenges imposed by data protection regulations.

These guidelines by the European Data Protection Board recognise that, in the context of the current pandemic, the “public interest derogation” may be available for international data exchanges for research purposes. However, as health is a national competence, the multiple and conflicting national rules make health data sharing, both within and outside the EU/EEA, challenging.

Source: Health experts call for the GDPR revision for cross-border health data sharing – EURACTIV.com

Facebook Starts Blocking Sensitive Medical Data Shared by Apps Over Privacy Concerns

Facebook has started blocking sensitive health information that third-party apps had been sharing with the social network in violation of its own rules, said New York officials who investigated the situation.

Data fed into a Facebook analytics tool by app makers included medical diagnoses and whether users were pregnant, according to a report shared by New York financial services department on Thursday.

“Facebook instructed app developers and websites not to share medical, financial, and other sensitive personal consumer data but took no steps to police this rule,” state financial services superintendent Linda Lacewell said in a release.

Source: Facebook Starts Blocking Sensitive Medical Data Shared by Apps Over Privacy Concerns | Technology News

Fears over DNA privacy as 23andMe goes public in deal with Richard Branson

The genetic testing company 23andMe will go public through a partnership with a firm backed by the billionaire Richard Branson, in a deal that has raised fresh privacy questions about the information of millions of customers.

Launched in 2006, 23andMe sells tests to determine consumers’ genetic ancestry and risk of developing certain illnesses, using saliva samples sent in by mail.

Source: Fears over DNA privacy as 23andMe goes public in deal with Richard Branson

Personal data stolen from Dutch coronavirus track-and-trace programme

Personal information of a large number of people who participated in the Netherlands’ coronavirus track-and-trace programme has been leaked, the Dutch health authorities (GGD) said on Friday.

The GGD confirmed a media report that data had been stolen and apologised for what it said were two separate leaks. It said in a statement it did not know how many people were affected by the data theft, but they could number in the thousands.

Source: Personal data stolen from Dutch coronavirus track-and-trace programme | Reuters

New tool makes it possible to do research on patient records without seeing sensitive information

Researchers have developed a new tool that can collect information from electronic health records without disclosing sensitive patient information. The tool is based on a data protection algorithm which Yigzaw developed and studied for his PhD in 2017.

To test the tool, researchers looked into prescriptions of antibiotics by GPs. The tool and its special algorithm were installed on the servers of three Norwegian GP centres.

During the test, researchers searched for specific diagnoses and prescriptions in the records of 20,245 patients, split between 21 GPs. As the patient data does not need to be moved, researchers can extract even more data than before, without compromising privacy.

Source: New tool makes it possible to do research on patient records without seeing sensitive information

UK bosses set up IT systems to track Covid vaccine status of staff

Employers are creating vaccine databases of their workers to track who has been inoculated against the coronavirus.

With some companies announcing they would either sack or refuse to hire people who will not take a Covid-19 vaccine, others are using IT systems to create a form of vaccine passport in the workplace to monitor the number of staff who have had the jab.

Full article: UK bosses set up IT systems to track Covid vaccine status of staff

India just had the Biggest Medical Records Breach Ever

In a data breach unprecedented in its scale in India, a large multi-speciality private hospital in Kerala had its complete patient records from the last five years—involving hundreds of thousands of test results, scans, prescriptions, etc—leaked on the internet, all of it searchable by a unique patient ID.

This breach potentially involved several gigabytes of patient data—if not terabytes—documented in many hundreds of thousands of separate files. Most of these medical records included patient names, email addresses and/or phone numbers.

It remains unclear how many weeks or months (or years) these records remained in the public domain.

Source: Data, Privacy, Pandemic: India just had the Biggest Medical Records Breach Ever | ORF

Vaccine passports: what are they and do they pose a danger to privacy?

Vaccine passports, which would allow people with immunity to Covid to prove they were at low risk of spreading the disease, are being investigated by companies and countries around the world. But the proposals have also raised fears among critics that they could underpin an oppressive digital ID system, and put sensitive medical records in the hands of authorities and employers.

Despite the name, a vaccine passport is not a piece of paper; instead, in the most developed versions of the idea, it is an app or similar system that can prove the bearer has been vaccinated, tested positive for Covid antibodies, or recently received a negative test. There would be no need to build and operate a privacy violating centralised database.

Source: Vaccine passports: what are they and do they pose a danger to privacy? | Society | The Guardian

Should Amazon’s drugstore know your medical condition?

The new Amazon Pharmacy offers customers convenience and potentially lower prices. But experts warn that users could be jeopardizing their privacy.

For many consumers, this represents greater convenience and the possibility of paying less for prescription drugs. It also means what little privacy you have left is rapidly disintegrating.

Full article: Should Amazon’s drugstore know your medical condition? – Los Angeles Times

A Hacker Is Threatening to Leak Patients’ Therapy Notes

An extortionist has turned a breach of Finland’s Vastaamo mental health services provider into a nightmare for victims.

It seems that Vastaamo had at least one exposed database of patient information that was breached in November 2018 and likely again in mid-March 2019. It is unclear how many patients were affected, but the National Bureau of Investigation said on Sunday that the number could be in the tens of thousands.

The hacker or hackers running the extortion campaign have been demanding 200 euros’ worth of bitcoin, about $230, from victims within 24 hours of the initial ask, or 500 euros ($590) after that, or else they’ll make their information public. A hacker persona “ransom_man” has set up a site on the anonymous web service Tor that already lists leaked data from at least 300 Vastaamo patients. Finnish media reports also indicate that Vastaamo has received a demand for around $530,000 worth of bitcoin to keep the stolen data out of the public domain.

Source: A Hacker Is Threatening to Leak Patients’ Therapy Notes | WIRED

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