Forums > Social Discussion > The Policeman and The Oyster

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simian
simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London
Member Since: 11th Oct 2002
Total posts: 3149
Posted: Written by: www.theregister.co.uk

Police in London are making increasing use of journey information logged by people using Oyster cards. The smartcards store information on all bus, train and tube journeys taken in the last two months.



In 2004, the Metropolitan Police made just seven requests for travel information. But in January of this year alone the Met asked for travel information on 61 people. This increase is partly explained by the increasing use of Oyster cards.



The police have almost always been granted their requests - in 229 cases out of the total 243 they were granted the information requested.





yes, i know. If i'm innocent, i have nothing to fear. blah blah blah.



but i'll keep avoiding the oyster, thank you very much.


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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jo_rhymes
jo_rhymes

Momma Bear
Location: Telford, Shrops
Member Since: 10th Apr 2005
Total posts: 4525
Posted:i had no idea about this Simian. Big Brother is watching.

Hoppers are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

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NOn
activist for HoPper liberation.
Location: ffidrac
Member Since: 23rd Jun 2004
Total posts: 1643
Posted:i think i must have been born a conspiracy theorist as i long presumed that there already was a database on medical records, or at least there must be because what if you get taken into hospital miles away from your local doctor?? it always just seemed to make sense. It was only recently when i started watching far too much CSI and ER for my own good, that i realised that was not actually the case, and they don't already have that super computer that does such a thing as well as containing all my fingerprints taken at birth, a DNA sample as well as my credit history and a complete family tree including any possible links with known terrorist organisations.... really.... i was actually surprised to find out they didn't already have some central system for medical records....

Aurinko freedom agreement reached 10th Sept 2006

if it makes no sense that's because it's NOn-sense.

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Irinus
enthusiast
Location: London
Member Since: 19th Apr 2006
Total posts: 222
Posted:Having worked in a GP's practice and being a medical student, I feel like I have to disagree, a little bit, with this article.

Like this guy, I do find it amazing that NHSnet is so late in arriving and that it's been so expensive. However, through my own personal experience, and having met one of the guys that's creating NHSnet (not surprisingly from a big American corporation, not topical at all eh smile I think things need a bit of clarification.

Starting on paragraph 3, he says that "once this data [is] on the database anyone could find an excuse to read it-"

"medical staff training students" = Too late, already happens, how the f*** does he think they're going to learn to be a doctor if they can't make a diagnosis from a history?

"doctors looking up similar cases" = No reason against it at the moment, reason being that it can be done confidentially i.e. it doesn't matter what you know about someone as long as you don't know who the information is about. Also, as a researcher, I can't tell you how useful this kind of information is to epidemiologists (people that look at causes and effects of diseases through, mainly, statistics) who otherwise have to sift through stacks of disordered notes or information from multiple databases or have to create databases of their own.

He then moves on to people selling data for profit. I wouldn't be surprised, but as long as individual patients aren't identified, nobody's confidentiality has been violated. Therefore, the police etc. couldn't do anything with the information because anything divulged with your name on it would be illegal and, in itself, inadmissible as evidence, I think (I don't even know how the data protection act applies here, can some law person clarify?)

I agree that you should probably be allowed to opt out of the system (for reasons that I'll explain later) but let's not forget the reasons this system is being brought in (which I'll also go into later).

Moving on:
"The effect will be that people will stop being honest to doctors and will tell them nothing" no change there then. To be fair, patients normally lie to medical students and tell doctors the truth (they think they're funny, what they don't realise is that doctors DO change their treatments based on what medical students tell them because they trust that what the patient has told the student is accurate). To be honest, I think that if most people had the idea and the reasoning explained to them, along with a few promises from the gov, they would welcome the new system.

"What a country we live in" amen

To the comment about a nasty neighbour looking up your records, they could probably already do that if they were in the right position e.g. worked at your GP's or at a hospital where you'd been treated. The point is that people in the position to do this are in a position of trust and, on the whole, don't do it because it would be unethical. The NHSnet may make this easier, but the same principal applies

e.g. when I was working at my local GP, my friend's mum (who I know had some sort of mental health problem) would often come in. Her notes were on the shelf in front of my computer the whole time I worked there but I would NEVER look at them because, even as a medical secretary (work experience, not proper job) I was trusted to only look at the notes I had to and even if I had read her notes as part of my job (e.g. when summarising handwritten notes) that information would be strictly confidential (I did sign contracts to that effect also).

Earlier (think back, waaay back) I said that people should be able to opt out. This is because, like the writer, I have concerns over security. Simian himself was telling me how horrendously insecure some of our data can be in our own law courts. I would think that some people consider their criminal record as confidential as their medical records in their everyday lives, but there are a lot of end-users out there who are crap with security and other security weaknesses, fair enough. However, I would say that if somebody wanted your information that badly, they could already get it by hacking your GP or hospital.

Which brings me on to why I wouldn't opt out of this system (my reasons are threefold (I'm not that big a Friends fan, but whatever)).

1) I think this will improve security overall because, despite providing a big target, it will cause a shift in medical record security. More and more medical records are
being held on computers (I doubt that there's a GP's surgery in the country that doesn't have some computerised records) and, instead of the GP's 17 year old son setting up the practice's security (oh yes, very true, and his security was much better that the 'professionals' that had gone before him), it will be done by some of the best security specialists in the country, great!

2) Patient comes into A&E unconscious. You could:
A) Carry out x number of time-consuming, expensive and difficult tests or
B) Look up his/her records and find out he/she is diabetic (ok, medical people, slightly poor example given that a BM is standard test, but the point stands)

I know which one I'd prefer as a newly qualified doctor in my first week on the job, being slightly confused and tired and not being able to find a more senior doctor.

Nutshell: it'll save lives!

C) Patient comes into clinic, on some ridiculous drug combination from the GP, unable to explain why. With the new system, you'd be able to see the GP's notes and understand why the patient is, rightly or wrongly, on that medication.

Sorry to rant, but I'd rather get it all out before we get in a twist about a not-brilliantly informed article. I just hope that the people involved sort out the security issues and get the bloody thing to work!

p.s. I haven't proof-read this because I want to go home and juggle, sorry for any mistakes or inaccuracies, I've stated things to the best of my knowledge but I can't be 100% on everything!


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Irinus
enthusiast
Location: London
Member Since: 19th Apr 2006
Total posts: 222
Posted:Looks like I killed this thread off eek Sorry ubbcrying

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NOn
activist for HoPper liberation.
Location: ffidrac
Member Since: 23rd Jun 2004
Total posts: 1643
Posted:ubblol it was a thorough argument smile

Aurinko freedom agreement reached 10th Sept 2006

if it makes no sense that's because it's NOn-sense.

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mo-seph
mo-seph

enthusiast
Location: Edinburgh, UK
Member Since: 24th Feb 2004
Total posts: 524
Posted: Written by: Irinus


He then moves on to people selling data for profit. I wouldn't be surprised, but as long as individual patients aren't identified, nobody's confidentiality has been violated. Therefore, the police etc. couldn't do anything with the information because anything divulged with your name on it would be illegal and, in itself, inadmissible as evidence




Without knowing exactly what information is made available, and how, you can't say anything about whether or not privacy will be violated. Even if assurances are given now, that doesn't mean that they will always be there, or that they will be properly upheld. Even without your name, there may still be enough identifying features to link records to you in certain situations.

 Written by: Irinus

I think this will improve security overall because, despite providing a big target, it will cause a shift in medical record security. More and more medical records are
being held on computers (I doubt that there's a GP's surgery in the country that doesn't have some computerised records) and, instead of the GP's 17 year old son setting up the practice's security (oh yes, very true, and his security was much better that the 'professionals' that had gone before him), it will be done by some of the best security specialists in the country, great!




Firstly, I'm not sure that the government has a particulary good record with implementing complex systems securely. Secondly, single large systems like this are not inherently more secure, and the consequences of compromise (and the incentives to try) are far greater. It also opens up the possibility of infrastructure attacks, holding the entire operation of the NHS to ransom.

At the end of the day, it's about trust. Do you trust the NHS to implement the system correctly. Do you trust them to use your data in ways that you are happy with, especially when they are being leaned on politically and financially? Do you think it's fair for people to have no say in this matter?

I'm all for computerisation in general, but I'm not sure I trust our government's abilities (let alone motives) to create systems like this, and I don't like my choice being taken away.


monkeys ate my brain

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