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Also tonight it's an issue we're devoting an entire week to your private medical data exposed everything about you from your medical history treatment.
Even your shopping habits out there for the highest bidder tonight.
A new lawsuit is alleging the IRS improperly seized sixty million medical records from ten million Americans.
Records included sensitive information on victims psychological states -- ecological counseling.
Even sexual and drug related treatments unbelievable.
For the alleged corruption and abuse of power by top government officials runs much deeper tonight.
We begin our week long special on the growing risks -- medical records and what you can do to protect yourself.
Joining me now -- staying up panel doctor Deborah peel founder of patient privacy rights and Marc Rotenberg president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
Deborah -- you first what are people trying to buy and why -- they want this information.
People are trying to buy health information for -- Lots of -- -- purposes we know about and many that we down.
Some people want to use the information to sell us products that's one thing but -- far more dangerous problem is the use of this information.
By implore errors banks insurers and others.
-- can make decisions about us that well be harmful to our jobs are our futures.
Guess so many people when I bring up this topic to me to them tell me.
You know looking just -- -- throw up your hands your information all of your information is out there when you -- Well I don't think that's right Terry medical information I think most people agree is among the most sensitive information we have.
We tell things and confidence to our doctors and to our health care providers and we expect information.
To be kept that way and I think doctor -- was absolutely correct that the information taken out of context.
Can hurt unit job -- it can hurt you when you're trying to get a loan -- can hurt you and lots of situations.
And I don't think people should have to worry about that I think medical privacy needs to be productive.
You know one of the interesting things about this -- I didn't know to western research on the topic the people buying this information.
It can include a prospective employer lets say -- been -- -- working needed job your interviewing for it and that perspective employer finds out that hey you failed.
A pre cancer screening test beckoned just totally ruin your chances for getting and job.
Doctor -- tell us a little bit about how valuable this information as.
Well we now know that the most valuable information about you in the digital age is anything about your mind for your body.
So for example we know that Social Security numbers can be bought for somewhere between fifty cents and five dollars a piece.
That anything about your health information goes for sale on on a scale of about fourteen dollars to 55 dollars.
This is the most important information -- -- -- about you and yes.
You know the market we were looking at who buys -- -- -- -- doctors and hospitals creating the information insurance companies.
Retail pharmacies and manager so retailers marketing come.
Companies your employer as you look at this you have to sit back and think wasn't hit -- supposed to protect this.
From all of this what happened mark.
-- whether that's an excellent point Jerry you know congress.
Tried in a somewhat backward way to create some regulations for health record information that couldn't.
Actually pass a law so what they did was ask health and human services.
The federal agency to issue regulations and those regulations came out.
They're not as strong as they need to be that try to strengthen them a bit this year that will help.
But there's been a real push back particularly from the pharmaceutical industry they want access to that.
Prescription information they want to make it available to lots and lots of different company is.
And I think it's left Americans far more exposed than they would even things because of the.
Well an act you know the more I look at this the more disturbing it really is because as it can affect so many parts of your life he mentioned earlier getting a bank loan.
May be ultimately you can be impacted.
Something as innocuous.
As a pharmacy loyalty card can be a problem and I want to share some information you shared with us.
Here's what target's web site says about their pharmacy rewards program and I'm quoting.
If information -- or disclose -- re disclosed re disclosed by target or its affiliates it may no longer be subject to hit our protections.
What do you make of that I mean at what does that really mean it sounds like I don't have protection now it sounds like target is saying that.
Ultimately we don't have to a live by the law.
Well they doubt but the interesting thing -- areas is -- -- actually allows.
Most of the most of the companies and agencies that hold our health information right now to use and disclose and salad without our consent.
This this is actually a warning.
That they're gonna do that -- disclose means they're going to.
Send it to people that we would not expect to have it and would not want to have it.
Well mark you know I I didn't.
-- hate to ask this but it seems to me if I was an identity -- This would be a very exciting moment for me are people out there trying to figure out how to use this information after all it's it's more valuable than even Social Security numbers.
And it it it is very valuable information and even the company's.
That use the information.
Far what we might consider to be acceptable purposes.
Still run a very serious risk of security breaches.
There are more and more stories about prescription record information.
Diagnostic information other medical information.
-- that gets -- that gets disclosed that you know people walk out with.
And I think this is a reminder.
-- to the good companies that we're going to need stronger protections in place because for identity thieves.
Have access to this amount of data is -- just too attractive.
Well and it's not like with regular old fashion identity theft they had access to your bank account maybe now they have access to the insurers -- down that's one big plus for them.
DeVon mark thanks for coming on tonight great job fascinating conversation two -- we're gonna continue to follows thanks so much.
This wouldn't welcome.
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