To prevent the spread of infections among first responders and the community, names and addresses of everyone testing positive for the virus are being released to 911 dispatchers and, according to The Associated Press, other “… appropriate agencies …”
In a stroke of “FOUR-GREAT-LIES” genius, public health officials in Colorado have joined the parade of 10 other states sharing medical data of known COVID-19 infected individuals with law enforcement and fire departments. These health department dictates are overriding “privacy issues” mandated by the 1996 federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), but if it saves one life, it’s worth it. Or so we are told by scolding, almost daily, by New York’s mayor and governor among others.
Should we be worried? With private medical information being made available to only “trustworthy” or highly credentialed individuals, and maybe some political organizations, what could possibly go wrong? A dispatcher or rookie cop earning $50K-$70K annually, could not possibly be persuaded to divulge, upload or accidentally “forward” a list of infected senior citizens to a reputable Nigerian Princess in exile, Leon “Password” Panetta or Debbie “Blabbermouth” Schultz.
Besides, courts have ordered that all information received by law enforcement, fire, and emergency dispatch systems “… be kept confidential …,” so everyone should go back to sleep. “I’ll Respect You In The Morning.”
If giving up our privacy saves only one life, it’s worth it. Or so we’ve been told.
Let’s play 1995! Imagine that at the peak of the AIDS epidemic, state health departments had released, to “appropriate agencies” the names and addresses of ANYONE infected with HIV, hepatitis-A, tuberculosis, Lassa Fever, MRSA, STDS, measles, explosive diarrhea and a dozen other infectious, airborne pathogens. How would TV networks have reacted?
During the 1990s, the ACLU stepped forward with righteous indignation to defend against disclosure “discrimination” towards the gay community and fought hard to protect our Fourth Amendment rights.
Where do the ACLU and other “civil libertarian” advocacy groups stand today on the potential unauthorized “black market” distribution of private medical information? My guess is that they’re sheltering in place and eating decadent ice cream, hoping nobody notices. “I promise I won’t …”
Cautiously selling your X-rays to the highest bidder.