The Myth of De-Identified Data: Sorrell v. IMS Health and the privacy risks of the prescription data trade

While my colleagues have recently identified many of the potential risks and benefits of electronic medical record keeping, a case before the Supreme Court this term presents questions about the potential dangers it poses for patient privacy in particular. Background: Sorrell v. IMS Health In Sorrell v. IMS Health, plantiffs data-mining firms and PhRMA, an association representing pharmaceutical drug manufacturers, have challenged a Vermont law that prohibits drug manufacturers from using of prescriber records for Continue Reading →

Expectations Matter: The FTC’s Next Approach to Privacy

Consumer Expectations and Privacy Recently, the Federal Trade Commission terminated its inquiry into Google’s “accidental” collection of Internet users’ personal data through its Street View vehicles after Google promised to improve its privacy efforts and delete the data. As you may recall, the investigation began after the FTC learned that Google’s Street View vehicles had been taking more than just pictures—the cars had also inadvertently collected and stored “payload” data, including passwords and email messages Continue Reading →