There is no doubt that medical data and healthcare records are highly sensitive. However, recent events have shone light on the lack of adequate security measures for this data. How can we prevent privacy risks but still allow researchers to gain life-saving insights from our medical data?
Pressure builds to secure health care data
Due to recent healthcare data breaches, there has been a strong push for the US federal government to increase personal medical information protections. This is especially true, as healthcare processes shift from on-paper to online, and data is analyzed to better patient care.
For example, reporter Maggie Miller states that “one major recent data breach led to the personal information of 20 million customers of blood testing groups Quest Diagnostics, LabCorp and Opko Health being exposed”.
Currently, much of the momentum has been in efforts to urge law officials to focus on the sale and use of data amidst the social media space. However, in light of recent breaches, there has been much more attention geared towards the importance of securing health record and medical data.
Evidence That Consumers Are Now Putting Privacy Ahead Of Convenience
With that in mind, many companies and organizations are redefining their internal views of customer data.
Chris Howard, a distinguished research vice president at Gartner, states that “As a CIO, you have a mandate to maintain data protections on sensitive data about consumers, citizens and employees. This typically means putting someone in charge of a privacy management program, detecting and promptly reporting breaches, and ensuring that individuals have control of their data. This is a board-level issue, yet barely half of organizations have adequate controls in place” (Source).
Recently, at the Gartner IT Symposium in Toronto, he argued that companies must be able to change their practices and become more adaptive to privacy-related demands. Gartner calls this the ‘ContinuousNext’ approach, and they hope it will build momentum through digital transformation and beyond.
The steady erosion of privacy at home
All these internet-connected gadgets, including smart assistants, internet-connected light bulbs, video doorbells, Wi-Fi thermostats, are filling every corner of your home and they’re watching you.
The problem: These devices learn to pick up your voice, interests, habits, TV preferences, meals, times home and away, and all other types sensitive data. The gadgets then relay this information back to the companies where they were manufactured.
However, can people switch back to their old ways? Can people go back to regular temperature control systems, TV’s that aren’t smart, and human assistants rather than robotic ones?
Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has placed new boundaries to govern digital snooping especially without warrants and consent. What does the future look like for a world that cannot live without tech?