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

Making security sustainable

Making security sustainable is a piece I wrote for Communications of the ACM and has just appeared in the Privacy and security column of their March issue. Now that software is appearing in durable goods, such as cars and medical devices, that can kill us, software engineering will have to come of age. The notion … Continue reading Making security sustainable

End of privacy rights in the UK public sector?

There has already been serious controversy about the “Henry VIII” powers in the Brexit Bill, which will enable ministers to rewrite laws at their discretion as we leave the EU. Now Theresa May’s government has sneaked a new “Framework for data processing in government” into the Lords committee stage of the new Data Protection Bill … Continue reading End of privacy rights in the UK public sector?

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