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At 12:49 AM 9/19/96, Rabid Wombat wrote:

>Don't get me wrong - I'm not disagreeing with you about how grim your
>points are. I just wanted to point out that information "could" be
>released to researchers without identifying the patient - researchers are
>generally interested in statistical data, such as the incidence of cancer
>per zip code, etc., which doesn't require your name to be released. Zip
>codes are sufficiently populated that this probably is of no danger to

Fine, if they can convince me that of this, I may consent to letting them
in on my secrets. I surmise that asking permission of patients is not part
of the plan, though.

Secondly--and this is actually a crypto-related point (!)--it does not take
much "blinded information" to figure out the correlations between patients
and data. It obviously depends on the amount of information, but it's

(Recall similar arguments about the census data being sold to direct
marketers: even with blinding of names, correlation was trivial in many
cases. This caused even more people to simply state the number of
(putative) living beings at their address and to "respectfully decline" to
answer the detailed questions about racial makeup ("Mein Censusfuhrer, ich
bin Aryan!"), income levels, diseases,insurance, employer, number of
televisions, etc.)

>OTOH, the potential for mis-use of such records is high, and allowing
>access to a huge number of commercial sites, and their employees,
>certainly opens a lot of holes.

It will be a zoo. Tens of thousands of people will have access to one's
records, and there will be no pretense that the system has even
Clipper-like levels of protection.

A psychotherapist acquaintance of mine is so worried about _existing_
lapses in patient-therapist confidentiality (basically, insurance companies
are demanding detailed summaries of diagnoses and treatments, and demanding
that he give them reports before they will pay...further evidence that
those seeking treatment ought to pay cash and not have insurance companies
in the loop on this sort of thing) that he has become and advocate of using

--Tim May

We got computers, we're tapping phone lines, I know that that ain't allowed.
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
[email protected]  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1,257,787-1 | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."