“Personal” Computers- Not so private anymore?

Are there things on your computer that you’d rather not have people see? Maybe some emails that have been sent back and forth, private Facebook messages, some photos, your browsing history? Even though what you have may not be incriminating, or even wrong, having someone else see it and go through it is violating.

There is a reason that people use passwords, that not everything is public on social media and mail services- because people are entitled to their privacy. Having these walls broken down, and allowing companies to break through and get personal information is a violation of one’s privacy.

Let’s focus of the privacy of one’s own health. Hypothetically, you go to the doctors and discover that you have an STD. Obviously, this is something that you don’t want anyone to know about. Maybe you go home and do some Google searches about the disease. You look through dozens of different web pages, providing you information about how it’s contracted, how it’s treated, what else you can do for it. Maybe after that you email your physician, asking her some specific questions about the medication you used, or what else you can do. Your physician emails you back with more detailed information about your personal condition.

With CISPA, a private security company could go through your internet searches, web-browsing history, and your private emails without any repercussions. Let’s repeat that-   a complete stranger to YOU would be able to identify that you had an STD, something you wanted to keep private, as well as personal correspondence between you and your physician about this condition? Wasn’t there a law about medical privacy?

The HIPAA laws state that “the individual’s past, present or future physical or mental health or condition” is considered protective health information “in any form or media, whether electronic, paper, or oral.” HIPAA laws have been in place for almost twenty years, in the interest of protecting individual’s privacy rights when it comes to their health. CISPA would be walking all over it.

There are reasons these laws were put into place: to protect the privacy of citizen’s health information. If this kind of information will no longer be private, then what will?

Get more information on HIPAA and their privacy laws HERE: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/summary/