Archive for the 'privacy' Category

Independence Institute Writers In The News

Posted by on Feb 27 2012 | education, Health Care, PPC, privacy

Freeing Colorado’s cottage food entrepreneurs, medical privacy snatching bureaucrats, and new teacher effectiveness evaluations are all topics of recently published opinion pieces by Independence Institute writers.

In the Denver Post, Krista Kafer explains that lawmakers have an opportunity to pass “one sweet piece” of cottage foods legislation. Writes Krista:

Commendably, two Colorado legislators, Sen. Gail Schwartz and Rep. Laura Bradford have advanced bills through their respective chambers to allow cottage food commerce. In order to allow Coloradans the greatest freedom to buy and sell homemade wares, the legislature should send a bill to the governor that contains the strengths of both bills.

Read the whole sweet thing here.

In the Colorado Springs Gazette, Linda Gorman and Amy Oliver Cooke make the case for repealing Colorado’s medical privacy snatching All Claims Payer Database. According to Linda and Amy:

Colorado officials have no business forcing people to choose between medical care and exposing their personal lives to hackers, busybody bureaucrats, and commercial interests. Nor do they have any business increasing the cost of health care by requiring those who pay for their own health care to participate in the latest database boondoggle.

Read all about it here.

In the Summit Daily, Ben DeGrow gives a thumbs-up to the recently passed educator effectiveness evaluation law, Colorado’s House Bill 1001.

While the process may be moving forward more slowly than many would like, positive steps have been taken. Teachers will have to earn and keep tenure protections by demonstrating effectiveness, and seniority no longer can trump performance as a factor in lay-offs. Principals as instructional leaders will share accountability with classroom teachers for promoting student growth, which must make up at least half of educator evaluations.

Read the whole thing here.

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Independence Institute Writers In The News

Posted by on Dec 26 2011 | energy, Environment, Health Care, health control law, Media, PPC, privacy

A massive medical privacy invasion in Colorado, another lame attempt to control the Internet by Congress, and the case in favor of fracking are all topics of recently published works by Independence Institute writers.

First Independence Institute intern and president of the Denver chapter of Liberty on the Rocks Donovan Schafer explains why hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is nothing to panic over. Writes Donovan:

In a recent report, the EPA linked groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming to the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) used to extract oil and gas. You can almost hear the collective “Hooray!” from anti-fracking advocates. But the actual data in the EPA report make it clear that fracking is safe.

Check out the whole thing here in the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Also be sure and check out II’s Amy Oliver Cooke and Linda Gorman in the Summit Daily as they point out the huge threat to medical privacy from Colorado’s “All-Payer Claim” database. According to Cooke and Gorman:

Colorado state government, and local foundations and health policy elites, have become so ideologically invested in failed health reform policies that they now see nothing wrong with forcing Colorado citizens to give their medical records to a centralized repository, free from scrutiny by state auditors, open records requests and open meeting requirements.

Read the whole thing here.

And don’t miss Senior Fellow in Technology Barry Fagin writing for the Colorado Springs Gazette’s editorial board on the Stop Online Piracy Act, which Barry calls a “bipartisan pile of waste making its way through the bowels of Congress…”

Check it out here.

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Obamacare and HB 1330: Privacy Killers

Posted by on Sep 28 2011 | Health Care, health control law, obamacare, PPC, privacy

I think we at the Independence Institute were the only ones to sound the alarm over impending medical privacy invasions by our state last year. If you can remember HB 1330, you’ll recall that it was nefariously dubbed the “Health Care Cost Transparency Act.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Linda Gorman’s title for HB 1330 was much more accurate: the “transparency trojan horse.” This bill was eventually signed into law by then Governor Ritter. What it does is create a centralized database to house all of our personal medical records and thus, become “transparent.” Really, the transparency in this case means transparent to government bureaucrats. But we can find out what personal data of ours is in the database and how our data is being used right? Wrong. I’ll let Amy Oliver explain,

In Colorado, [the database administrator] is the non-profit Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC), a spin off of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF). Because it is a non-profit that means it is not subject to the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request.

Sounds transparent right? You can read all about the horrors of HB 1330 here: Linda Gorman’s bill summary.

Over on our Transparency blog, COST, Amy alerts us that Americans just found out what else was in Obamacare (in the words of Nancy Pelosi). Namely, the invasion of every single American’s medical privacy. According to this Washington Examiner article, Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, DC will centralize our personal health care data in a database to be perused by government bureaucrats. In others words, Obamacare does to Americans what HB 1330 does to Coloradans.

We asked over and over again, where are the civil libertarians? Where is the left in this massive invasion of privacy? For the left, listening to our phone calls warrants a bloody outcry but exposing our personal medical records warrants not even a peep? How about a little consistency? For those wondering why this is such a scary invasion of privacy, recall what CU Associate Law Professor Paul Ohm, who specializes in privacy issues, said about data and its anonymity, “data can either be useful or perfectly anonymous but never both.” Despite our overlords stressing that all of our medical data will remain safe and sound, we have every reason to worry. Our data will not be anonymous. And if it is completely anonymous, it will be as Paul Ohm said, “useless.”

Let’s hope this new government program hits the mark we have come to expect from most government programs: totally useless.

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How the Dem-controlled Legislature killed medical privacy in Colorado

Posted by on Jun 13 2010 | Capitol Crazies, Government Largess, Health Care, PPC, privacy

It’s tough being the establishment. Sometimes you have to trash your principles for political purposes. Privacy and choice, ideals once championed by liberals and their progressive allies, have been reduced to quaint notions applicable on politically acceptable occasions now that Democrats are the ruling class.

Take health care in Colorado.  Last year, State Rep John Kefalas sponsored legislation that would have laid “the groundwork” for government-controlled health care, a.k.a. single-payer, to all Coloradans by 2011. It failed even in the Democrat-controlled state legislature.

This year, Kefalas and other Democratic legislators tried a different approach. HB 1330, the All-Payer Health Care Cost Database was signed into law by Governor Ritter on May 26. The bill grants unlimited power to the Executive Director of Health Care Policy and Financing to mandate the collection of any and all health care data, to conduct audits, to give the data to third parties without seeking permission, and to impose unlimited fines for refusing to provide data to the database.

The legislation is a frightening invasion of privacy because patients and providers have no say over whether the state may have, according to the bill, “access to individual information on physical functioning, medical treatment, supposed mental stability, marital problems, family structure, sexual habits, addictions, adherence to government health recommendations, and individual financial arrangements.”

Kefalas bragged about the massive privacy invasion in a press release, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” In other words the state must know the intimate details of your private medical records in order to “manage” your health care for you.

Sponsors of the legislation say your information will be secure and private…wink, wink. Colorado state government has a history of losing supposedly secure data. In this era of Big Data, there is no way to guarantee privacy or security. In the words of CU Associate Law Professor Paul Ohm, who specializes in privacy issues, “data can either be useful or perfectly anonymous but never both.”

Furthermore, the database will be funded by “unknown” sources with “unknown” agendas. Whoever is willing to pay to establish the database will have access to your private medical information.

In a paper released last fall, Ohm refers to “databases of ruin” where an individual’s most personal information is stored. Nate Anderson, senior editor of ARS Technica, summarized Ohm’s paper, “Scrubbing data just isn’t enough to keep our individual ‘databases of ruin’ out of the hands of the police, political enemies, nosy neighbors, friends, and spies.”

So where are all the privacy advocates from the Left?  Where are the champions of “choice”?  You’d think they would have marched en masse to the Capitol to protest such a massive intrusion into medical privacy.

But an online search turned up a grand total of two dissenting voices against such a significant government intrusion into individual rights and privacy: Amy Oliver-Cooke and Linda Gorman, both from the Independence Institute.

If I missed a single progressive voice against HB 1330, I’d love to know about it.

The problem with governing is that it sometimes makes a mockery of principles once championed. And obedient allies remain silent as politics replaces concern over those pesky principles of privacy and choice.

A version of this was originally published in The Huffington Post

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Merrick Garland is no friend of the rights of gun owners

Posted by on Apr 09 2010 | guns, privacy

(David Kopel)

Details here, regarding the 2000 case NRA v. Reno, and Judge Garland’s refusal to require the Clinton Department of Justice to obey the federal statute requiring the destruction of records of firearms purchases by law-abiding Americans. The decision also suggests a cavalier disregard for privacy rights in general, such as the right not to be put on a government list simply because one engaged in a lawful activity.

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