PRIVACY Forum Archive Document
PRIVACY Forum Digest Saturday, 24 July 1993 Volume 02 : Issue 26 Moderated by Lauren Weinstein (email@example.com) Vortex Technology, Topanga, CA, U.S.A. ===== PRIVACY FORUM ===== The PRIVACY Forum digest is supported in part by the ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy. CONTENTS Emerg med records -should- be confidential (Daniel Burstein) Re: Data-swapping between EMT and DMV (Jay Maynard) Re: Data-swapping between EMT and DMV (J. Scott Weaver) Re: Data-swapping between EMT and DMV (Jerry Leichter) H.R. 1900 (John W. Pfeifer) Car Rentals (Paul Robinson) Re: Incident at a Car Rental 800 Number (Gene Spafford) Name & Address from Phone Number in Chicago (Bob Reese) B of A and Privacy (David Gast) "Computers, Freedom & Privacy '94" (Willis Ware) *** Please include a RELEVANT "Subject:" line on all submissions! *** *** Submissions without them may be ignored! *** ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Internet PRIVACY Forum is a moderated digest for the discussion and analysis of issues relating to the general topic of privacy (both personal and collective) in the "information age" of the 1990's and beyond. The moderator will choose submissions for inclusion based on their relevance and content. Submissions will not be routinely acknowledged. ALL submissions should be addressed to "firstname.lastname@example.org" and must have RELEVANT "Subject:" lines; submissions without appropriate and relevant "Subject:" lines may be ignored. Excessive "signatures" on submissions are subject to editing. Subscriptions are by an automatic "listserv" system; for subscription information, please send a message consisting of the word "help" (quotes not included) in the BODY of a message to: "email@example.com". Mailing list problems should be reported to "firstname.lastname@example.org". All submissions included in this digest represent the views of the individual authors and all submissions will be considered to be distributable without limitations. The PRIVACY Forum archive, including all issues of the digest and all related materials, is available via anonymous FTP from site "ftp ftp.vortex.com", in the "/privacy" directory. Use the FTP login "ftp" or "anonymous", and enter your e-mail address as the password. The typical "README" and "INDEX" files are available to guide you through the files available for FTP access. PRIVACY Forum materials may also be obtained automatically via e-mail through the listserv system. Please follow the instructions above for getting the listserv "help" information, which includes details regarding the "index" and "get" listserv commands, which are used to access the PRIVACY Forum archive. All PRIVACY Forum materials are also available through the Internet Gopher system via a gopher server on site "gopher.vortex.com/". For information regarding the availability of this digest via FAX, please send an inquiry to email@example.com, call (310) 455-9300, or FAX to (310) 455-2364. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- VOLUME 02, ISSUE 26 Quote for the day: "Danger is my business." -- Cool McCool "Cool McCool" (1966-1968, 1969) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sun, 18 Jul 1993 09:08:46 -0400 (EDT) From: Daniel Burstein <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: emerg med records -should- be confidential In Privacy Forum volume 02, issue 25, Wayne Madsen of NJ (don't have his email address at hand) described the following incident (paraphrased): > A co-worker collapsed at the job, was treated and transported by the >local emergency medical service. He was diagnosed with a benign brain >tumor and discharged from the hospital. > Sometime later he received a letter from the DMV stating that he had to >re-apply for his drivers license. It seemed that the EMT had shared this >information with the DMV, and when qustioned later, the EMT claimed it was >routine procedure to share this information... Mr. Madsen then goes on to point out the very real risks in this. to which I add: As a NYS EMT-P for twelve years who has worked with NYC-EMS for more than ten of them, and as someone who is familar with the NYS laws regarding EMS actions ("Article 30" and "Part 800" and various other bits and pieces), I can tell you that this is bs (at least in NY and most other states). Patient records (in 99% of the cases) are confidential and are NOT to be transmitted to anyone outside of the medical stream taking care of the patient. there is -no- valid reason whatsoever (in 99% of cases) for any handover of such info to the DMV (or anyone else), and an EMT (or any other medical person) doing so can face some pretty heavy charges. (these records can, of course, be brought into a court action, but that's the case with just about anything) (The few exceptions are those specifically mandated by law. Your State's mileage may vary, but generally these include things such as required reports of child abuse, gunshots, severe burns, and the like. DMV, of course, -will- get reports of injuries related to auto accidents, but that's it). Now that's not to say it doesn't happen. Every so often stories appear about lawyers/undertakers/auto repair centers/etc., who have made "arrangements" with local police/emts/doctors/etc. for referrals, but that's a human and social engineering issue. I've kicked the original article over to one of the State licensing folk for an official comment. They'll either be posting it directly, or I'll relay it on receipt. danny burstein, NYS-EMT-P (email@example.com ------------------------------ Date: Sun, 18 Jul 1993 13:54:20 -0600 (MDT) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jay Maynard) Subject: Re: Data-swapping between EMT and DMV In the general case, the EMT-patient relationship is protected by the same comfidentiality provisions as the doctor-patient relationship. In Texas, not only is such information _not_ routinely given to the Department of Public Safety (or any other law enforcement agency), but it can only be obtained by subpoena. Any EMT who divulged such information without the patient's consent would be subject not only to civil liability, but also to revocation of his EMT certification. I would expect that the same applies in New Jersey in the absence of a specific law requiring its disclosure. I would suggest that the patient in the cited case seek legal assistance. While I do not condone the lawsuit-happy culture that we have built ofer the past decade or so, this is one instance where legal relief is appropriate...and there's an EMT, and likely an EMS organization, out there who needs a stern lesson in patient confidentiality. That confidentiality is an integral part of the EMT-patient relationship, and without it, we can't do our job. -- Jay Maynard, EMT-P, K5ZC, PP-ASEL | Never ascribe to malice that which can email@example.com | adequately be explained by stupidity. "iHaTeX." -- Andrew Burt ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 19 Jul 93 08:18 PDT From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Data-swapping between EMT and DMV In VOLUME 02, ISSUE 25, Wayne Madsen writes: >It seems that the EMT had shared the medical data with DMV and when >confronted later, EMT claimed that it was a routine procedure to do so. [remaining quoted text deleted -- MODERATOR] In New York State, EMTs are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse, etc. However, this case would probably be considered a serious breach of patient confidentiality. In particular, the EMT has no basis for the tumor diagnosis, although she may have observed and reported a seizure. If she was reporting hearsay from the hospital staff, heads should roll. J. Scott Weaver ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 19 Jul 93 09:21:34 EDT From: Jerry Leichter <email@example.com> Subject: re: Data-swapping between EMT and DMV Wayne Madsen describes an incident in which a person is rushed to a hospital after collapsing, and is found to have a benign brain tumor. Later, he is notified by the NJ Dept. of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that he had to re-apply for his driver's license, as the EMT shared the medical data with DMV, claiming that was "routine procedure". Mr. Madsen describes this as "a draconian privacy measure [which] calls into question the privacy of medical data in the upcoming National Health Insurance program...." Some medical conditions are classified as "reportable". Any doctor who detects them is obligated by law to report them to the appropriate authorities, usually (but I don't think always) the state board of health. Reportable conditions include (at least) certain communicable diseases and gunshot wounds. The reports are used for various things, from simple calculation of statistics (which can be essential in controlling epidemics) all the way up to initiating state actions concerning the individuals involved. These requirements long pre-date computerization, going back to at least the nineteenth century. We live in a society, and the other members of that society have rights, too. Because of the success of medical science over the past 50 years or so, we've forgotten painful lessons, that took hundreds of years to learn, about the control of epidemics. Recent experience with AIDS and now with drug-resistant tuberculosis is making it plain that our victory may prove transitory, and more traditional means of control may again prove necessary. AIDS was almost made a reportable disease in several states, or even nationally. (Ultimate responsibility for coordinating public health measures rests with the CDC. I think disease reports reach it through state health departments, but I'm not certain.) Debates arose on the public health vs. privacy issues here, and ultimately the decision was made in the direction of privacy. How much of this decision was based on sound medical reasoning (AIDS isn't easily transmissible; there is no effective treatment, and isolation is pointless; statistical information can be gotten in other ways - by taking random, unidentified blood samples of hospital patients and testing them, which is in fact being done) and how much on the political influence of AIDS activist organizations one can argue; but the debate was quite real and could have gone the other way. A similar debate is under way today concerning attempts to force treatment on those with drug-resistant tuberculosis, up to and including holding them prisoner until they complete treatment (which can take 6 months or more). At the moment, a small number of people ARE being treated in this way, and despite some complaints from civil libertarians, the clear trend is toward more, not less, such treatment. In the past, carriers of communicable diseases who could not be rendered non-infective have been held in isolation for the rest of their lives. It's by no means out of the question that such a thing could happen again. In the case at hand, I suspect that New Jersey may have a reporting require- ment to the DMV in the case of any medical condition that is thought likely to cause seizures. The "public health" implications of a driver having a seizure on the highway should be obvious. There have been attempts to impose similar reporting requirements for conditions that cause deterioration of vision. I don't know if these have been accepted; again, there's a strong political lobby (the AARP) that fights against perceived discrimation against older people. They may have objected to such measures. Privacy is not an absolute right. Society - that is, every other individual - has the right to attempt to control threats to public health, even when the necessary - and they have to be shown to be that - measures are much more intrusive than simply requiring that a driver show that he can still operate a vehicle safely. -- Jerry ------------------------------ Date: 18 Jul 1993 17:22:37 -0800 From: JOHN W PFEIFER <DFJWP@acad2.alaska.edu> Subject: H.R. 1900 I'm trying to find a copy of H.R. 1900, the Privacy for Consumers and Workers Act, introduced by Rep. Williams this session in the U.S. House of Representatives. Does anyone know if the full text of the bill is available anywhere online via FPT? If so, where? Thanks....John W. Pfeifer <firstname.lastname@example.org> [ A great deal of information about past and current federal legislation, including legislation in progress, can be obtained from the Library of Congress Information System, available on Internet via telnet at "locis.loc.gov/". While full text of all materials may not be available, a great deal of data, including the current state of pending legislation, is online. -- MODERATOR ] ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 22 Jul 93 01:24 GMT From: "Tansin A. Darcos & Company" <email@example.com> Subject: Car Rentals [Subject field chosen by MODERATOR] I wrote a message to Risks Digest about the ability of a Car Rental company at Washington DC National Airport in Arlington, Virginia to be telling me that they will check my driving record for disqualifying factors. My drivers' license is from Maryland, which does not print the Social Security Number on the license. I was rather surprised that a private party - e.g. a car rental company - would be able to do an interstate verification of someone's license record on a Saturday, which was a little surprising. (And because it's the first time after more than 30 car rentals that I've heard of this practice.) A reader of Risks Digest had a comment about my message: > The Sunday Business section (Wash Post) carried an article about car > rental companies checking driving records of customers in some states. MD > was one of them. Soon the system will be extended to all states. > I'd appreciate hearing your views on what identification should be used > nationally. And if the answer is none, how you can reasonably expect to > be protected from mobile rip-off artists if there is no way for the police > to tag & identify mobile crooks. I think my comments may have been misunderstood a little. All that I was saying was that I was surprised that a private organization would have the capability to do an interstate verification of someone's driving record on a weekend. I do see this checking as a reasonable protection of their rights to protect their property against criminals. The point I was making was that a private organization is given the ability to make inquiries. If this is something akin to an inquiry to a privately operated database of criminal convictions or other activity, where some group collects criminal information from the public record to create their own information, that's one thing. But giving private parties essentially carte blanche to look through the drivers' license database for anyone bothers me a little bit. And remember, I was talking about the actions of a private organization - a car rental company - to examine a driving record of an applicant for a rental of an automobile, where the applicant's record is in another state. This has nothing to do with the police, whose car computers probably have direct access to the NCIC database. Paul Robinson -- TDARCOS@MCIMAIL.COM ------------------------------ Date: Sun, 18 Jul 93 12:58:50 -0500 From: Gene Spafford <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Incident at a Car Rental 800 Number I can't say that the rental agency is not doing a license check interstate when you show them your license. However, as someone who as had to rent lots of cars, I can tell you that they always look at my license. Even when I have an "express" reservation and I am on my way out of the parking lot, the person at the gate checks my license. They never type the license number into the computer or do any other check. So, if they don't run a computer check, why do they check the license? 1) To make sure you have one. Most states have a policy of confiscating your license if you commit certain forms of traffic infraction. If you can't produce a license, you shouldn't be renting their cars. 2) To make sure your license hasn't expired. A colleague of mine didn't remember to renew her license, and got stranded when she went to pick up the car. The clerk said that only holders of valid licenses are allowed to rent the cars because of legal and insurance reasons. 3) To verify you are who you say you are. I could call up the same car rental agency, give your name, phone, address, place of work, etc. and try to pick the car up. They need to verify that I am indeed the person who reserved the car. I don't view any of these as invasions of privacy or anything involving computers. I think they are sound business sense (for a car rental company). Cheers, --spaf [ It is not totally obvious exactly what information is being checked in these increasingly frequent database lookups by car rental firms. I believe I heard that on the basis of these checks, something like 1 out of 8 applicants is rejected. Whether rejections are based on insurance status, accidents, tickets, etc. is unknown. Nor do we know that applicants are always told why they were rejected. One obvious concern regarding such systems is that the possible presence of incomplete or inaccurate information in the DMV databases could potentially cause applicants to be rejected for false reasons. This is not a simple topic, since one's driving record is of reasonable concern to car rental companies--still, the issues regarding access to those records, and the accuracy of those records, should be the subject of considerable scrutiny and care. -- MODERATOR ] ------------------------------ Date: 21 Jul 93 16:31:34-0400 From: ROBERT.REESE@sprint.sprint.com Subject: Name & Address from Phone Number in Chicago Following is a synopsis of a 7/20/93 story in Communications Daily: Chicago-area customers will soon have access to Automated Customer Name and Address service provided by Ameritech. The service provides a "reverse directory", which allows callers to hear the name, address and zip code associated with any listed telephone number in the 312 or 708 area codes. The service will cost 35 cents per call and provides information on two listings. I haven't seen the entire story but this definitely raises several privacy issues. Does a customer of Ameritech get to choose whether he/she is included in this listing? If you don't want to be listed do you have to pay an additional charge? How are unlisted numbers handled? The price is cheap enough that anyone with call detail information from a PBX, pen recorder, etc. wouldn't hesitate to use it for investigative purposes. Regards, Bob Reese (email@example.com) [ I believe you can rest assured that unlisted numbers will not show up in that system. (Beware, however, that in some areas there is a difference between "unlisted" and "non-published" numbers, and they may not be handled identically!) Reverse telephone directories (known in the trade as "criss-cross directories") have long been available to businesses--the difference with an automated CNA system is the ease of access by "the masses." By the way, there are also directories organized by street address designed to ease solicitations. Outside of the usual exclusion of unlisted numbers from such directories and systems, many telcos allow subscribers to opt-out of at least some reverse directory systems upon request. Your best bet would be to query your local telco regarding their specific policies, or contact your state's Public Utilities Commission if you're dissatisfied with the telco's response. -- MODERATOR ] ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 20 Jul 93 16:26:42 -0700 From: gast@CS.UCLA.EDU (David Gast) Subject: B of A and Privacy B of A also has a telephone system for getting information, such as checking account balances. You don't even have to know a phone number as every branch seems to have a phone that is hardwired to the system. Essentially, at the first level prompt you have to decide if you are an individual or a business. If you are an individual, then you also have to provide a password, probably the last four digits of your SSN. If you are business, it lets you type in an account number, and then a balance. It will tell you if the account has that much money. Presumably this "service" is for merchants so they can see if a check will clear. While there are problems even with its seemingly intended purpose, the system can also be used via binary search to determine the account balance in an account. Worse, the system also provides to "business" users a rating without the need for any password. It always seemed to me that this rating service should have been subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, but I guess the lawyers found a loophole. They may have changed the system in the last few years, but this is my best recollection of how it worked. David Gast ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 22 Jul 93 12:48:34 PDT From: Willis Ware <Willis_Ware@rand.org> Subject: "Computers, Freedom & Privacy '94" *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-* "Computers, Freedom & Privacy '94" George B. Trubow, General Chair Timothy R. Rabel, Conference Coordinator John Marshall Law School 315 South Plymouth Court Chicago, IL 60604 e-mail = firstname.lastname@example.org voice = (312) 987-1419 fax = (312) 427-8307 *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-* Conference Announcement and Call for Papers Computers, Freedom, and Privacy 1994 23-26 March 1994 Announcement The fourth annual conference, "Computers, Freedom, and Privacy," will be held in Chicago, Il., March 23-26, 1994. This conference will be jointly sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and The John Marshall Law School. George B. Trubow, professor of law and director of the Center for Informatics Law at The John Marshall Law School, is general chairman of the conference. The series began in 1991 with a conference in San Francisco\Burlingame, and subsequent meetings took place in Washington, D.C. and again in San Francisco\Burlingame, in successive years. Each conference has addressed a broad range of issues confronting the "information society" in this era of the computer revolution. The advance of computer and communications technologies holds great promise for individuals and society. From conveniences for consumers and efficiencies in commerce to improved public health and safety and increased knowledge of and participation in government and community, these technologies are fundamentally transforming our environment and our lives. At the same time, these technologies present challenges to the idea of a free and open society. Personal privacy is increasingly at risk from invasions by high-tech surveillance and monitoring; a myriad of personal information data bases expose private life to constant scrutiny; new forms of illegal activity may threaten the traditional barriers between citizen and state and present new tests of Constitutional protection; geographic boundaries of state and nation may be recast by information exchange that knows no boundaries as governments and economies are caught up in global data networks. Computers, Freedom, and Privacy '94 will present an assemblage of experts, advocates and interested parties from diverse perspectives and disciplines to consider the effects on freedom and privacy resulting from the rapid technological advances in computer and telecommunication science. Participants come from fields of computer science, communications, law, business and commerce, research, government, education, the media, health, public advocacy and consumer affairs, and a variety of other backgrounds. A series of pre-conference tutorials will be offered on March 23, 1994, with the conference program beginning on Thursday, March 24, and running through Saturday, March 26, 1994. The Palmer House, a Hilton hotel located at the corner of State Street and Washington Ave. in Chicago's "loop," and only about a block from The John Marshall Law School buildings, will be the conference headquarters. Room reservations should be made directly with the hotel, mentioning The John Marshall Law School or "CFP'94" to get the special conference rate of $99.00, plus tax. The Palmer House Hilton 17 E. Monroe., Chicago, Il., 60603 Tel: 312-726-7500; 1-800-HILTONS; Fax 312-263-2556 Call for Papers and Program Suggestions The emphasis at CFP'94 will be on examining the many potential uses of new technology and considering recommendations for dealing with them. Specific suggestions to harness the new technologies so society can enjoy the benefits while avoiding negative implications are solicited. Proposals are requested from anyone working on a relevant paper, or who has an idea for a program presentation that will demonstrate new computer or communications technology and suggest what can be done with it. Any proposal must: state the title of the paper or program; describe the theme and content in a short paragraph; set out the credentials and experience of the author or suggested speakers; and should not exceed two pages. If an already completed paper is being proposed for presentation, then a copy should be included with the proposal. Student Papers and Scholarships It is anticipated that announcement of a student writing competition for CFP'94 will be made soon, together with information regarding the availability of a limited number of student scholarships for the conference. Timetables Proposals for papers and programs are being accepted at this time. It is intended that program committees will be finalized by August 1, 1993. Proposals must be received by October 1, 1993. Communications Conference communications should be sent to: CFP'94 The John Marshall Law School 315 S. Plymouth Ct. Chicago, IL 60604 (Voice: 312-987-1419; Fax: 312-427-8307; E-mail: CFP94@jmls.edu) ------------------------------ End of PRIVACY Forum Digest 02.26 ************************
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