#caredata sucks – but is it payback time too?

Wired UK reports thus after this Ben Goldacre tweet:

I can now tell you hospital records data on individuals released by @HSCIC in Sept 2013 was publicly available online. This is staggering.

Whilst I share Wired’s preoccupations, I diverge from their blithe assertion that:

Thankfully, all of these breaches relate only to hospital visits. Most people visit the hospital much less frequently than they go to their GP, meaning that patient records aren’t that comprehensive. […]

As one of those people who at a certain time in his life had to attend hospitals out of debilitating mental ill health, I’m really not so sanguine about the implications: not because I have anything to hide, mind – rather, because I simply don’t like the idea of companies making dosh out of my data and paying out gobs of wealth to their shareholders on the back of my medical records.

Meanwhile, good people like Paul Bernal ask for a halt to the whole #caredata imbroglio.  And it’s true: the whole bloody saga is just getting too sickening to be sustained – or be sustainable – any more.  But I do wonder if it isn’t time for a tiny little thought experiment.  Just take a look at the shape of what’s happening here: it’s becoming rapidly apparent that all our most private data is being released (maybe has already been released) onto what is essentially an evermore wild worldwide web.  Someone (like ourselves perhaps) might come to the conclusion that after Edward Snowden’s astonishing revelations on our security agencies, governments across the globe – in particular the Anglo-Saxon ones – have little reason to want to keep sensitive data on their populaces under control, and every interest in making it accessible in a staged kind of way to those who might act in most bad faith, once such access had been engineered.

Yes.  #Caredata sucks – but it’s simply payback time for two quite distinct sets of parties: both the extraordinary journalists who’ve brought us Snowden, as well as those ordinary people who’ve cared to read them.  So maybe the battle between the Ukraine and Russia will be the real dilemma of the 21st century, and maybe it’ll shortly take over our every breathing moment.  But the war that is being fought rather more silently – the war that will continue to be fought – is that which punishes democracies, and their citizens too, for believing they have a right to act democratically.

#Caredata isn’t bollocks squared.  #Caredata is simply a tool by the inconveniently unhappy to get their vengeful own back on a nascent society of highly self-educating people.

*

Or not, as the case may be.

(Do remember, after all, this was only a tiny little thought experiment – of quite minimal and essentially insignificant consequence.)

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