Government bureaucracies use data mining techniques to keep track of almost anything nowadays. Government micromanagement of people’s lives has become the norm. Control freaks in positions of power want to know everything about everybody, usually in order to “keep people safe” or to learn about population trends or to “save lives.” Recent developments reveal that states will be implementing data mining techniques into state education common core standards to track children’s behavior. If recording children’s emotions wasn’t enough, states are now using data mining techniques to record each person’s prescription drug use.
State legislatures across the United States are joining in on implementing databases called Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, which are designed to stop prescription drug abuse and keep people from buying prescription drugs from street dealers.
The mission statement of these programs sounds great, but these costly programs are taking personal medical information from one’s own doctor and handing it over to the hands of a select few government officials. As the right to be secure in one’s own person and papers against unreasonable searches is forfeited, government officials can now snoop around in people’s prescription drug use records legally.
These programs are being implemented across the U.S., costing states up to $1.5 million to start up and up to $1 million a year to maintain. These surveillance programs are primarily an online data mining system that keeps record of people’s prescription drug use.
The loss of the Fourth Amendment is the root of the problem here.
Some of these states are already sharing personal prescription drug records with other states. They are trying to facilitate information sharing efficiently using an even broader prescription monitoring information exchange. Since these programs are initiated through federal grants, the federal government may get involved in this state to state exchange of drug information trafficking. The FDA Safety and Innovation Act authorizes the Health and Human Services Department along with the Attorney General to “facilitate the development of recommendation on interoperability standards for interstate exchange of prescription drug monitoring programs.”
Since the programs are set up to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) pertaining to protection of health information, many “experts” believe the success of these programs will require health information to be released in a more timely, complete, consistent, and accessible manner.
What these “experts” are really asking for is that residents give up their right to privacy altogether so a select few can keep them safe.
The fight for personal privacy rights wages on.