July 2, 2013
Government bureaucracies use data mining techniques to keep track of almost anything nowadays. Government micromanagement of people’s lives has become the norm. Control freaks in positions of power want to know everything about everybody, usually in order to “keep people safe” or to learn about population trends or to “save lives.” Recent developments reveal that states will be implementing data mining techniques into state education common core standards to track children’s behavior. If recording children’s emotions wasn’t enough, states are now using data mining techniques to record each person’s prescription drug use.
State legislatures across the United States are joining in on implementing databases called Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, which are designed to stop prescription drug abuse and keep people from buying prescription drugs from street dealers.
Privacy stripped again as US citizens become naked punching bags
The mission statement of these programs sounds great, but these costly programs are taking personal medical information from one’s own doctor and handing it over to the hands of a select few government officials. As the right to be secure in one’s own person and papers against unreasonable searches is forfeited, government officials can now snoop around in people’s prescription drug use records legally.
These programs are being implemented across the U.S., costing states up to $1.5 million to start up and up to $1 million a year to maintain. These surveillance programs are primarily an online data mining system that keeps record of people’s prescription drug use.
Can databases like these be used for the greater good, or will the surveillance create a new drug war, where innocents are caught up in the cross hairs of government raids? Anyone with a prescription drug record could essentially be blamed or targeted by false leads or corrupt targeting.
The loss of the Fourth Amendment is the root of the problem here.
Your personal prescription drug records are being shared among states
Some of these states are already sharing personal prescription drug records with other states. They are trying to facilitate information sharing efficiently using an even broader prescription monitoring information exchange. Since these programs are initiated through federal grants, the federal government may get involved in this state to state exchange of drug information trafficking. The FDA Safety and Innovation Act authorizes the Health and Human Services Department along with the Attorney General to “facilitate the development of recommendation on interoperability standards for interstate exchange of prescription drug monitoring programs.”
“Experts” want to access your medical records without restriction
Since the programs are set up to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) pertaining to protection of health information, many “experts” believe the success of these programs will require health information to be released in a more timely, complete, consistent, and accessible manner.
What these “experts” are really asking for is that residents give up their right to privacy altogether so a select few can keep them safe.
Florida lawsuit challenging the unconstitutional data mining procedures
A complaint filed in circuit court in Volusia county, Florida states that the prescription drug monitoring database violates the Florida state constitution, subjecting residents to unreasonable searches.
Attorney John Tanner has filed the complaint, asking why the State Attorney’s Office and five defense attorneys ended up with prescription drug records of an estimated 3,300 citizens.
Tanner says that even though the database was designed to shut down pill mills and stop doctor shopping, “There’s a greater public interest in keeping your personal prescription and medical records private.”
“We believe that the laws safeguarding and keeping those individual records private are not strong enough and this case is a perfect illustration of that in that 3,300 individual records of innocent citizens have been released and scrutinized by persons who didn’t have the authority to look at them,” Tanner said.
Tanner has asked the judge to order prosecutors to collect all the unconstitutionally seized prescription drug records and place them under seal. Tanner has also asked the five prosecutors to write certified letters to all who were affected.
The state attorney, R.J Larizza has received Tanner’s complaint and isn’t doing much about the issue. “The prescription drug database saves countless lives and the laws creating it are young. If the courts decide that there needs to be some modification then that’s up to the court,” Larizza said. “But the law is the law and the way it’s on the books now it’s considered constitutional and enforceable.”
The fight for personal privacy rights wages on.
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This article was posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at 11:09 am