Medical privacy seminar on May 4th

On Monday May 4th, the Dutch medical privacy campaigner Guido van’t Noordende will visit us in Cambridge. OK, it’s a bank holiday, but that’s the only day he’ll be in town. His talk will be on The Dutch electronic patient record system and beyond – towards physician-controlled decentralized medical record exchange. Four years ago, Guido … Continue reading Medical privacy seminar on May 4th

Can we have medical privacy, cloud computing and genomics all at the same time?

Today sees the publication of a report I helped to write for the Nuffield Bioethics Council on what happens to medical ethics in a world of cloud-based medical records and pervasive genomics. As the information we gave to our doctors in private to help them treat us is now collected and treated as an industrial … Continue reading Can we have medical privacy, cloud computing and genomics all at the same time?

Your medical records – now on sale

Your medical records are now officially on sale. American drug companies now learn that MedRed BT Health Cloud will provide public access to 50 million de-identified patient records from UK. David Cameron announced in 2011 that every NHS patient would be a research patient, with their records opened up to private healthcare firms. He promised … Continue reading Your medical records – now on sale

New medical confidentiality campaign

Regular readers of this blog will have noticed growing issues with medical privacy. On April 24th, a new medical confidentiality campaign will kick off in London. New legislation that comes into force next month will permit the upload of identifiable patient data directly from family doctors’ records to central systems, from which it will be … Continue reading New medical confidentiality campaign

Government ignores Personal Medical Security

The Government has just published their response to the Health Committee’s report on The Electronic Patient Record. This response is shocking but not surprising. For example, on pages 6-7 the Department reject the committee’s recommendation that sealed-envelope data should be kept out of the secondary uses service (SUS). Sealed-envelope data is the stuff you don’t … Continue reading Government ignores Personal Medical Security

Is this research ethical?

The Economist features face recognition on its front page, reporting that deep neural networks can now tell whether you’re straight or gay better than humans can just by looking at your face. The research they cite is a preprint, available here. Its authors Kosinski and Wang downloaded thousands of photos from a dating site, ran … Continue reading Is this research ethical?

Compartmentation is hard, but the Big Data playbook makes it harder still

A new study of Palantir’s systems and business methods makes sobering reading for people interested in what big data means for privacy. Privacy scales badly. It’s OK for the twenty staff at a medical practice to have access to the records of the ten thousand patients registered there, but when you build a centralised system … Continue reading Compartmentation is hard, but the Big Data playbook makes it harder still

Regulatory capture

Today’s newspapers report that the cladding on the Grenfell Tower, which appears to have been a major factor in the dreadful loss of life there, was banned in Germany and permitted in America only for low-rise buildings. It would have cost only £2 more per square meter to use fire-resistant cladding instead. The tactical way … Continue reading Regulatory capture

When safety and security become one

What happens when your car starts getting monthly upgrades like your phone and your laptop? It’s starting to happen, and the changes will be profound. We’ll be able to improve car safety as we learn from accidents, and fixing a flaw won’t mean spending billions on a recall. But if you’re writing navigation code today … Continue reading When safety and security become one

Government U-turn on Health Privacy

Now that everyone’s distracted with the supreme court case on Brexit, you can expect the government to sneak out something it’s ashamed of. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has decided to ignore the wishes of over a million people who opted out of having their hospital records given to third parties such as drug companies, and … Continue reading Government U-turn on Health Privacy