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Medical Records

	Here's something that may make attempts such as Clipper a bit harder to
mandate, if this (non-escrowed, I believe) system becomes common. It should
also provide some pressure for relaxation of ITAR.

      (c) 1995 Copyright Nando.net
      (c) 1995 Reuter Information Service

   A security system developed at the University of California at San
   Francisco prevents unauthorized access to x-rays and other medical
   images transmitted via computer networks. A scientist described the
   system in a report prepared for a radiologists' convention here.

   Stephen Wong, assistant professor of radiology and bioengineering, and
   colleagues developed the system for the picture archiving and
   communications system used at the university to store and transmit
   digitized medical images.
   He said the authenticity of the images as well as patient
   confidentiality must be protected.
   "We have to make sure that the digital information and images are not
   altered accidentally or surreptitiously," Wong said. "In addition,
   x-rays and other imaging studies are part of the patient's medical
   record and must be protected from unauthorized access."
   The system uses mathematical formulas or codes to scramble the images
   through encryption. It involves a "two-key" system -- one code enables
   public access but a second, private code is required to unscramble the
   The private code, known only to the individual to whom the information
   is transmitted, is 1,024 computer bits long, Wong said.
   In emergencies where fast transmission is needed, the unscrambled
   image is transmitted with a digital "fingerprint," a smaller code that
   assures the intended viewer that no one has altered the original
   Wong prepared his report for the annual meeting of the Radiological
   Society of North America.