Category Archives: bioethics

Integris Health Hospital Employee Balks at Patient Biometric Scans

palm vein

Kaye Beach
April 24, 2013

Almost no one would disagree that our government aided by its corporate partners, has become increasingly intrusive and data hungry. At every turn it seems we are being measured, monitored, tracked or surveyed in some way.  (If you are one of those who doesn’t care if you are constantly scrutinized by governments and corporations,  you can stop reading now.  I have no advice to offer you for your broken survival instinct.)

The level of surveillance of a population that will be achieved is predicated on four simple elements; 1) Money  2) Man power (or technology)  3) Political will  4) public acceptance of the surveillance.

For ordinary citizens who are alarmed about the implications of living in a pervasive surveillance state, element four, public acceptance, is the arena where we live or die and we know it. This is why I want to share with you one example of an ordinary citizen who has taken a stand in that arena.

Until yesterday, Maggie was a full time employee of INTEGRIS Hospital in Grove Oklahoma working in the patient registration department but the addition of a new biometric patient identification system at INTEGRIS has caused her to do some soul searching.

The use of biometrics in health care will likely increase in the  coming years as the industry shifts toward electronic medical records and other health information technologies as required under both the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 http://leg2.state.va.us/dls/h&sdocs.nsf/By+Year/HD102010/$file/HD10.pdf

(Backgrounder-Find out what Health Care Reform is really about here)

Biometrics just means measurement of the body and refers to technology that is used to take these measurements and convert them to digital code for the purpose of identification.  When it comes to tracking, tracing, surveillance and control of the population, biometric identification is the ultimate tool for control and so we should be especially wary about the collecting of our biometric data.

Maggie is wary and has taken a stand against it.  She is suffering the consequences of doing so.

patientsecure 1

PatientSecure Palm Vein Biometric Identification System

Back in Dec. of 2012 INTEGRIS began installing and started training using the PatientSecure Palm Vein Biometric Identification System in the registration departments.  PatientSecure uses infrared light to scan and map the veins in the right palm of patients for identification purposes.  When PatientSecure was introduced there was no requirement for employees to enroll patients but according to Maggie, they were encouraged to do so.  Before long, pressure by INTEGRIS to enroll all patients into the PatientSecure system mounted as did Maggie’s concerns about the system.

Her objections to performing the biometric enrolment are twofold.

1) Maggie believes that the information given to patients about the benefits of PatientSecure is misleading.

2) Biometrically enrolling patients is a violation of her religious convictions.

I think it is important to point out that while biometric ID is often pitched as the way to irrefutably prove that you are who you say you are but that is not true.  Biometrics do not prove your identity.  Think about it.  The biometric data collected is attributed to the identity documents that a person provides.  If those identity documents are fraudulent, the addition of biometrics only reinforces the fraudulent identity.  In other words, garbage in, garbage out.

benefits patientsecure

Maggie writes, “We were told to inform patients that enrollment in the system would help prevent identify theft and insurance fraud on their accounts.”  Maggie doesn’t think that PatientSecure lives up to it’s own hype.

She is not alone.

PateintSecure – Inflated Claims

Experts in biometric systems have also pointed out that PatientSecure does not prevent identity fraud or theft.

Speaking specifically about Florida’s Baptist Health center’s new patient identification system, (which is PatientSecure, the same system used by Oklahoma’s INTEGRIS) a biometric technology professional points out that the system does not “stop identify theft” as claimed because the system can be easily circumvented at the time of enrollment.

To state the problem simply, PatientSecure uses a type of verification that “will not prevent a duplicate record from being created and opens the door for patients to enroll under multiple identities and commit fraud.”

(Source: M2sysy, ‘Biometric Patient Identification Technology Should Prevent Medical Identity Theft at the Point of Enrollment’ Dec. 18, 2012 http://blog.m2sys.com/comments-on-recent-biometric-news-stories/biometric-patient-identification-technology-should-prevent-medical-identity-theft-at-the-point-of-enrollment/)

A recent article posted at idRADAR, a privacy and identity security specific organization, makes a good point about the overselling of PatientSecure as a tool to prevent identity fraud;

“The palm scanner from PatientSecure has been adopted at numerous hospitals across the country.

As a tool to tackle medical identity theft and the theft of insurance benefits, palm scanner advocates argue that they’re a boost but an inquiring mind can see a number of other issues. What happens if someone has already stolen your medical data and their palm is the one scanned into the system? What would this mean if you had an emergency? Would you be denied care?”

(Source: idRADAR, ‘High Fives or Thumbs Down?’ Jan. 10, 2013 https://idradar.com/news-stories/technology/High-Fives-or-Thumbs-Down%3F)

PatientSecure suggests telling patients that “The next time you come in, you just give us your date of birth, we scan you hand and your record comes right up.” (Source: PatientSecure User Manual For INTEGRIS Health Sep 13, 2012)

But in reality, it doesn’t necessarily work so smoothly.  Maggie says that “. . .patients who had previously enrolled would often not properly pull up an account when presenting their palm for scan.”  

Informed Consent or Coercive Consent?

Another big concern here is that INTEGRIS does not gain formal consent from patients and employees are not instructed to tell patients, up-front, that the palm scan is optional.

If you are a patient at INTEGRIS your first introduction to PatientSecure will probably go something like this at the registration desk.

Registrar: “I am now going to link you to your medical record. Please make a “5” with your hand and place it on the hand guide with your middle finger between the finger dividers. Move your hand forward till it stops.” 

Then you may be told that, “This is our new system to keep you safe by linking you to your medical record and take the best care of you. It will also speed up your registration process.”

And that, “By linking you to your medical record no one can impersonate you.  You are protected against identity theft and we can even identify you in an emergency situation” (Source: PatientSecure User Manual For INTEGRIS Health Sep 13, 2012)

You will probably NOT be told that having your hand scanned for PatientSecure is completely optional.

Joel Reidenberg, a data privacy expert and professor at Fordham University Law School recently chided the vice president of NYU medical center for this exact policy omission when using PatientSecure.

. . . unless patients at N.Y.U. seem uncomfortable with the process, Ms. McClellan said, medical registration staff members don’t inform them that they can opt out of photos and scans.

“We don’t have formal consent,” Ms. McClellan said

Professor Reidenberg states that, “If they are not informing patients it is optional then effectively it is coerced consent.”

(Source: The NY Times, ‘When a Palm Reader Knows More Than Your Life Line,’ Nov. 10, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/technology/biometric-data-gathering-sets-off-a-privacy-debate.html?_r=1&)

It is coercive because getting medical care is one of those essential human needs and few are going to do anything that might hinder their access to care.

“I reluctantly stuck my hand on the machine. If I demurred, I thought, perhaps I’d be denied medical care”

(Source: The NY Times, ‘When a Palm Reader Knows More Than Your Life Line,’ Nov. 10, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/technology/biometric-data-gathering-sets-off-a-privacy-debate.html?_r=1&)                                        

Patients must be informed that providing their biometric data is OPTIONAL!  Formal consent is the most ethical way to handle this.

Taking a stand

In the early weeks of INTEGRIS’ use of PatientSecure, Maggie wrestled with her conscience about doing the scans on patients and since it was not required, she avoided doing them. Maggie also felt certain that it was only a matter of time before she would be called to account for the low number of patients she had palm scanned.

Maggie tells me that “After reflecting and praying, I felt compelled to no longer participate in the convincing and enrolling of patients into the biometrics palm vein system.  Not only did I feel that I was misleading the patients regarding the benefits of enrolling, I felt that my participation was a violation of my religious and spiritual beliefs.”

At this point Maggie spoke with her boss about her religious objections concerning the biometric scans and asked that she be exempted from enrolling patients in the PatientSecure biometric system. She was asked to produce some documentation regarding her religious beliefs and Maggie complied by provided a letter from Christian Pastor attesting to the sincerity of her religious convictions.

Consequences

Yesterday Maggie got some bad news.

She was asked to meet with her employer and was given a letter informing her that INTEGRIS could not accommodate her request to be exempted from the requirement of biometrically enrolling patients.  Instead INTEGRIS offered Maggie only one possible alternative.  She could be reassigned to another position and while the pay stayed the same as her current position the job would require a substantial commute with no travel differential allotted.

Now Maggie has to decide whether or not she will accept this position.  She is told she may try to find another position with INTEGRIS on her own but otherwise she will be terminated.

Maggie believes that her request for a religious accommodation is a reasonable one.  From her perspective the proffered alternative position seems more like punishment due to the drastic difference in travel time and also the hours and duties.

She notes, “It is also still not a “required” job function to use the palm scanners.  There are multiple people in my department that have never participated in the use of the palm scanners even though they register patients.  It has never been presented to us as official policy that we must use the palm scanners or that their use is a required function of our job.”

Some of us are wise to the dangers of collecting and sharing this data and we are beginning to see a few people, such as Maggie, that refuse to serve as unquestioning collectors and conduits of others’ personal and private information to the government and their corporate partners.

We will never know the stories of the countless people across this country every day that like Maggie, refuse to just go along with what they know to be dangerous and wrong.  But they are out there and each act of courage, each stand matters because they add up.

If we think what we do doesn’t matter, that resistance is futile, then we have already lost.  We can’t afford that.  Too much depends on the courage of each and every one of us.

Maggie is an example of what that courage looks like.

Resistance is the best tool we have in our arsenal to beat back Big Brother.


Oklahomans Going It Alone Against Smart Meters?

og e smart meter

Kaye Beach

Feb, 11, 2013

A smart meter is usually an electrical meter that records consumption of electric energy in intervals of an hour or less and communicates that information at least daily back to the utility for monitoring and billing purposes [7] Smart meters enable two-way communication between the meter and the central system. (Wikipedia)

There are 3 major concerns surrounding the smart grid and smart meters.

  1. Health/Safety
  2. Privacy
  3. Security

Over the last couple of years I have aired my concerns about smart meters, most of which are associated with privacy or property rights.

http://axiomamuse.wordpress.com/tag/smart-meters/

I have stuck closely to the privacy issues because this is the area that personally causes me the most worry and I have some level of experience and expertise when it comes to matters of technology, privacy and public policy. The privacy threats associated with these two way communication devices is, for me, is easy to understand and explain. I am fortunate that, when it comes to the potential surveillance and privacy issues, there is a variety of credible sources I can draw upon to help make my points clear.

For example, see this recent Congressional Research Report that, in a matter of fact manner, lays out the intrusive surveillance capabilities of smart meters and the smart grid;

“With smart meters, police will have access to data that might be used to track residents’ daily lives and routines while in their homes, including their eating, sleeping, and showering habits, what appliances they use and when, and whether they prefer the television to the treadmill, among a host of other details.”

This report, Smart Meter Data: Privacy and Cybersecurity, goes on to discuss existing law related to the Fourth Amendment and discusses the possibility that this intrusive capability may not be adequately covered by existing law. Clearly, the sanctity and privacy of our very homes is in the privacy invasion danger zone.

My point is that when it comes to smart meters and privacy, I am well equipped to engage but for the complicated questions surrounding the biological interactions of this newly introduced technology, I feel a bit out of my league and have been reluctant to jump into the health and safety questions revolving around the smart meters.

However, as I speak to person after person in this state who are suffering from not only ill effects on their health but also from being ignored, mocked or even bullied by the utility corporation and state officials, I am becoming outraged and advocating for fair and open government that respects the rights of all is something that falls squarely within my comfort zone.

I have spoken to people in our state that have fled their beautiful home, taking refuge in a small, cramped travel trailer, because a family member became dangerously ill after the meter was installed. Another couple disconnected their electric service and is using a generator rather than risk their health or privacy, still another family keeps close watch over their analog meter and fends off its replacement with a smart meter with a lock and letters threatening legal action against OG&E, others have resorted to constructing safe spaces within their homes by using frequency blocking shielding materials so that they can get respite from the symptoms caused by the new meters. Others feel that they have been bullied into submission by installers and utility providers. These are just a few of the stories that I am personally familiar with. What is going on here?!

Resistance to smart meters is happening everywhere and stories like these recent ones are simply unbelievable.

Handicapped Woman Refuses Smart Meter — Has Power Cut in the Dead of Winter

Residents unhappy with smart meter related arrests

Are we going to let this situation fester to the point that we see these kinds of actions in Oklahoma?

Going It Alone

Many Oklahomans have been fighting individual, solitary battles against the utility corporations and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to get these unwanted smart meters off of their homes. I believe that there are many more Oklahomans out there suffering or fighting all alone.

Whether or not we are personally concerned about the possible privacy, security or health issues that surround smart meters, we all should be concerned if the utility corporations, our elected representatives, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and other public servants of this state are not being properly responsive to those who have serious objections to having a smart meter installed on their property or homes

Meet Joe Esposito.

Joe is one of these people I have met who is struggling with what to do about his smart meter that has had an adverse effect on his health. But Joes he is not going to do it in darkness. Joe is trying to help others and he is wants to bring concerns about smart meters to the attention of the public.

Joe Esposito did his research on the smart meters when he became aware that the Public Service Company of Oklahoma planned to install one on each and every home in the City of Owasso beginning in 2011.

He felt very uncomfortable being forced to have his home serve as a test case for what appeared to be untested, unproven and unsafe technology and contacted the power company and asked that no smart meter be installed on his home.

Despite his request, on March 16, 2011, the smart meter was installed on his home, without his permission.

The meters are mandatory in Oklahoma, no matter how compelling your reason for not wanting one, no one is permitted to ‘opt out’. There is no state or federal law that requires us to accept installation of a smart meter. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is responsible for creating the rules that make them mandatory.

TITLE 165: OKLAHOMA CORPORATION COMMISSION

CHAPTER 35. ELECTRIC UTILITY RULES

PERMANENT RULES

After the installation of the smart meter, Mr Esposito began to experience unusual health problems: dental problems, tingling in his mouth, sharp pains throughout his body at night and more.

Upon investigation, Mr. Esposito found and some techniques to block the frequencies caused by the meter and when he utilized these techniques he experienced rapid improvement in his health.

During the Month of January 2013, Mr. Esposito delivered the following seven documents to the Oklahoma Legislature, the Governor and Lt. Governor, the Corporation Commission as well as Senator Inhofe, Senator Coburn and Representative Bridenstine.

  1. STATEMENT OF CONCERN AND ACTION AGAINST SMART METERS IN THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA Jan. 8, 2013
  2. Letter to Commission Secretary British Columbia Utilities Commission, 2013
  3. The Smart Meter Abyss November 2012 Owasso, Oklahoma
  4. Hazardʼs of Electromagnetic
    Radiation (EMR) Reference Sheet
  5. ARE YOU LIVING CLOSE TO ‘CANCER GENERATOR’?
  6. EMF Safety Network
  7. EMF Safety Network page 2

Mr. Esposito also has a website under development, Stop Smart Meters in Oklahoma

http://www.stopsmartmetersinoklahoma.org/

If you are having problems with your smart meter, you will want to connect with this gentleman. Joe Esposito’s email address is joeesposito8111@yahoo.com

Stop Smart Meters in Oklahoma is not fully operational yet but there are some suggestions up for Oklahomans opposed to smart meter installation under Actions You Can Take

Another place for Oklahomans concerned about smart meters to connect is on Facebook. Oklahoma Smart Meter Info Swap

I will continue to follow the stories of Oklahomans who have been going it alone against the forced installation of smart meters on their homes.

If you have or are currently having problems with your smart meter in Oklahoma and would like share your story, please contact me at axxiomforliberty@gmail.com

Student Ordered to Leave School For Carrying Bad Gene

Kaye Beach

Oct. 23, 2012

What do you make of this?

The 11 year old child tests negative for Cystic Fibrosis although he does carry the genetic mutation for the disease.  Many carry the mutation (10 million) but relatively few (30,000) actually have the disease. (Source:  Cystic Fibrosis Foundation)  Cystic Fibrosis is not contagious and experts say that he poses no heightened threat to other students yet he is being ordered to transfer to another school.  His parents are taking it to court.

Boy banned from school for carrying cystic fibrosis gene

Published October 18, 2012

A California boy has been ordered to transfer to another middle school because he carries the genetic mutations for cystic fibrosis – even though his doctors and parents maintain he does not have the incurable, non-infectious disease, the San Francisco Gate reported.

. . .

Colman has never had the lung problems associated with the disease, has never required treatment and tested negative on a sweat test, which is the definitive diagnostic test, his parents, Jamy and Jennifer Chadman, said Thursday.

The Chadmans said they only disclosed his condition out of an “overabundance of caution” and tried to convince the school officials that he does not have classic cystic fibrosis and therefore is not a risk.

Also see;

A Truly MADD Campaign to Completely Eliminate Drunk Driving

Kaye Beach

August 12, 2012

MADD wants to completely eliminate drunk driving.  That sounds great doesn’t it?  I have seen the destruction wrought by drunk drivers, have cried with families over precious lives lost and have upbraided irresponsible friends and family members that might consider getting behind the wheel when they are not sober.  I bet you have done most if these things too.

The way MADD and some of their friends want to go about eliminating drunk driving though,  is absolutely stunning.

I am told by respected legal experts that driving is a privilege, not a right. If this is an unchallengeable fact then American motorists should be prepared to pay dearly for that privilege.

About a year ago, I was discussing with my husband, a reliable and reasonable skeptic in all things, a number of ridiculously intrusive technologies that are making us all more like slaves than free people.  The example I hit on in this particular conversation was technology being used to analyze blood alcohol levels on the spot. This technology is frequently  mandated to be installed on the vehicles of those convicted of DUI offenses.  Its called ignition interlock devices or IIDs and it prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver tests positive for alcohol.  I had heard the news report that this technology was being considered for some kind of alcohol vending machine.  The customer would have to submit to a blood alcohol level test and if the level was not acceptable,  the machine would not allow the purchase to be made.  I asked my husband how long did he think it would be before some kind of alcohol sensing device would become standard issue on all vehicles.  He thought the idea was insane but said not sooner than fifty years from now.  I said ten.

Not a week later an article popped up in the news suggesting exactly such a plan.

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) has been waging war against the practice of driving while drunk for some time.  The organization has taken flak for some of their methods in doing so and I am about to be added to their growing list of detractors.

As a side note, a few months ago I challenged myself to prove a claim I have openly made again and again: Take nearly any proposal, initiative or policy in some way related to policing that  runs roughshod over our natural and legal rights, especially if it includes new technology, and you will invariable find the International Association of Chiefs of Police to be intimately involved in that plan. (Here is just one example)

The idea of forcing all drivers to submit to some kind of testing of their body chemistry in order to be able to start their own car in the absence of any sort of evidence that the driver might be inebriated is just beyond the pale in my mind. But if there is anyone thinking about doing such a thing, it would be the IACP.

In my research I discovered that MADD was working very diligently on a technology called the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety or DADSS as part of their campaign to completely eliminate drunk driving.

More than 7,000 road traffic deaths could be prevented every year if alcohol detection devices were used in all vehicles. link

2011

This technology is being tested under the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (or DADSS) program. Under a $10 million cooperative research effort, NHTSA and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (or ACTS), just recently completed a “proof of concept phase” and is planning to move forward to further explore the feasibility of developing technologies that potentially could be mass produced.--Brian McLaughlin Senior Associate Administrator National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Here are some of the technologies that MADD was considering for Phase I of their endeavor;

So where is the IACP?  I had no doubt that these UN affiliated tech tyrants were doing their part to promote this repulsive plan.  I was right.

GHSA supports the MADD Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving.

Now lets see how this IACP backed, Mad Campaign to Eliminate the Presumption of Innocence and Completely Control Drivers  has progressed since 2011.

From the National Motorists Association’s E-Newsletter #187: The Frog in the Pot

Buried within the approximately 600 pages of legislation enacted in the recent federal transportation law are two provisions to encourage the installation of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) into more vehicles.

. . .The first offers grants to states that implement mandatory interlock requirements for all DUI offenders. The second provides continued funding for the Driver Alcohol Detection System and Safety (DADSS) program.

The effort centers on two possible technologies—one that reads BAC through the driver’s skin and another that uses cabin sensors to measure alcohol concentrations in the driver’s exhaled breath. Note that neither technology operates like current interlock devices, which have been deemed as unreliable, too intrusive and “not acceptable for widespread use among the driving public…”

It’s no secret that the true aim of DADSS is to install interlock devices in all new vehicles. Under this regime, all drivers—not just those with DUI convictions—would have to pass a BAC test every time they wanted to start their car.

Interlock proponents, such as MADD and certain policymakers, downplay their support for mandatory, universal interlock use because of the public backlash it would cause. So, they work toward incremental gains, such as passing more interlock legislation at the state level and funding initiatives like DADSS, which are couched as “research” programs.
But the efforts of advocates and policymakers may not be enough. According to this recent article, the key to universal acceptance (read mandatory in all new vehicles) of interlock devices may lie elsewhere:

While some believe that the universal implementation of alcohol interlocks should be mandated by government, there is an argument that suggests that the paradigm shift towards universal acceptance will be driven by private industry.

The writer explains that as interlocks have become widespread in commercial and fleet vehicles, especially overseas, the companies that have adopted them are perceived by the public as more safety conscious and better corporate citizens. The logic goes that if a taxi passenger in Belgium observes the driver using an interlock before starting the cab, the passenger will feel more secure and have a more positive view of interlocks.

The writer concludes that the private sector, not government, can do a better job of changing public perception of interlocks, especially in North America. If consumers become more aware of alcohol testing in commercial driving settings, and the assumed accompanying safety benefits, they will more accepting of interlocks in their personal vehicles and may actually want them.

It’s an interesting point. Private sector companies are masterful at influencing public opinion. It’s called marketing, and the techniques to do it effectively have been honed over 150 years. But even if UPS or Walmart did require interlocks in its fleet vehicles, would the company really want to call attention to that fact? Likely not, for fear of even suggesting that its drivers might drive while impaired.

So, even if the private sector begins to adopt interlock technology on a large scale, the spillover effect on consumers will likely be subtle and incremental (like slowly turning up the heat on a frog in a pot of water). Given the modus operandi of the interlock proponents, they will probably be very content with that.

Ignition interlocks represent a flawed solution to the drunk-driving problem. Nonetheless, their supporters will continue to push for universal acceptance through obvious, and not so obvious, means. Their success is not guaranteed. We encourage you to ask your policymakers to consider alternative, thoughtful approaches to this serious public safety issue. ♦

**You can find a collection of DADSS documents here

DARPA Makes 10 Million Strides in the Race to Contain a Hypothetical Pandemic

Kaye Beach

July 31, 2012

DARPA makes vaccines?

From DARPA published July 25, 2012;

Rapid fire test of novel, plant-based production method delivers more than 10 million doses of H1N1 VLP influenza vaccine candidate in one month

U.S. military forces are the front line of U.S. national security, but as a globally deployed force they are also on the front line of any new pathogen-based health threat that may emerge. As overall human activity pushes ever further into previously undeveloped territory, the likelihood of exposure to new pandemic diseases increases.

The 2009 Army Posture Statement, cites a World Health Organization estimate of between 20 and 50 percent of the world’s population being affected if a pandemic were to emerge. WHO forecasts “it may be six to nine months before a vaccine for a pandemic virus strain becomes available.” In a separate report on pandemic influenza, the WHO describes several challenges to producing sufficient volumes of vaccine using current, egg-based protein-production technology, including the likelihood that two doses per person could be required due to the absence of pre-existing immunity.

In short, the potential for a pandemic exists and current technological limitations on defensive measures put the health and readiness of U.S. military forces at risk. A technological solution to increase the speed and adaptability of vaccine production is urgently needed to match the broad biological threat.

DARPA’s Blue Angel program seeks to demonstrate a flexible and agile capability for the Department of Defense to rapidly react to and neutralize any natural or intentional pandemic disease. Building on a previous DARPA program, Accelerated Manufacture of Pharmaceuticals, Blue Angel targets new ways of producing large amounts of high-quality, vaccine-grade protein in less than three months in response to emerging and novel biological threats.

Read more

We Need a Human Bar Code

Kaye Beach

June 27, 2012

Really we don’t need a human barcode but the arguments entertaining or even in favoring such a thing are becoming more and more common.  The campaign is being cranked up.

This article asks the question, ‘ Is a human barcode on the way?’  Noting that it is already technologically feasible (which, of course, means we will do it) the author moves on to the next question; will it violate our privacy?

That is the wrong question.

Here are some better ones;

Just because we can do something does that mean we should? 

Would the use of such technology, in addition to destroying our privacy, also destroy our humanity?

Is a ‘human barcode’ on the way?

MEGHAN NEAL
Friday, June 01, 2012

Would you barcode your baby? Microchip implants have become standard practice for our pets, but have been a tougher sell when it comes to the idea of putting them in people. Science fiction author Elizabeth Moon last week rekindled the debate on whether it’s a good idea to “barcode” infants at birth in an interview on a BBC radio program. “I would insist on every individual having a unique ID permanently attached — a barcode if you will — an implanted chip to provide an easy, fast inexpensive way to identify individuals,” she said on The Forum, a weekly show that features “a global thinking” discussing a “radical, inspiring or controversial idea” for 60 seconds

Moon believes the tools most commonly used for surveillance and identification — like video cameras and DNA testing — are slow, costly and often ineffective.

In her opinion, human barcoding would save a lot of time and money.

The proposal isn’t too far-fetched – it is already technically possible to “barcode” a human – but does it violate our rights to privacy?

Read more

 

The idea of treating human beings like inventory is a popular and pervasive one for control freaks and slave fetishists alike.  And the author of the above article wasn’t being over the top in mentioning attaching some kind of ID to infants at birth.  That is exactly how it would work because in order to be certain that the person and the identity are correctly matched is to cement the ID to the individual at the moment of birth.  At some point we will be told that such a system is necessary for life in this modern world.  When that time comes technology corporations are ready.

Here is one example.

http://www.humanbarcode.com/

Oklahoma Bill will provide drug data

Kaye Beach

April, 11, 2012

In order to create the Prescription Monitoring Program in the first place, they had to reassure citizens and their elected officials that even though personal medical information was being exposed to the cops and other bureaucrats, it wouldn’t go any further.  Now that the program is in place, now comes the slow but sure expansion of sharing that data.  Right now it is just statistical data being shared with a few more select stakeholders but this is just the first step.  (See article below)

The Oklahoma Prescription Monitoring Program tracks all drugs Schedule II-V, not just opioids like Vicodin as mentioned in the article.  And naturally since the federal government has applied ample amounts of  both the carrot and the stick to the states to create these tracking programs, now they want to link them all up.

“Now that 48 states have authorized PMPs, it is high time we get these systems linked up to eliminate the interstate doctor shopping which has been fueling the pill pipeline around our country,” Rogers continued. “The ID MEDS Act paves the way for secure prescription data exchange so that doctors and pharmacists around the country will be able to make informed decisions about prescribing these powerful drugs, and law enforcement can more easily root out corrupt drug dealers. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this important legislation.” Read more

Here is an insightful comment about the Prescription Monitoring Programs that I just had to share.  From JasonPye.com

It’s funny, when ObamaCare was passed last year. Republicans claimed that it would interfere with doctor-patient relationships, etc. But when pushing a bill that could cause doctors to under-prescribe patients because of the fear that they could be tied to someone that is doctor shopping. While this concern will be downplayed, it’s a serious issue that has ruined careers and caused patients to suffer unnecessarily. Read more

 

From Tulsa Today

Bill will provide drug data

Written by Staff Report Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Oklahoma Sen. Gary Stanislawski said a bill allowing access to statistical data about drug prescriptions has been approved by both chambers and is one step closer to becoming law.   Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, is principal author of Senate Bill 1065, which deals with the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP).  The database is maintained by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (OBNDD) to track prescriptions of specific types of drugs, like Vicodin.

Physicians, pharmacists and law enforcement can access the PMP to search a patient’s prescription history.  The purpose was to identify patients who would visit multiple doctors to obtain duplicate prescriptions, raising flags about possible addiction or the illegal distribution of dangerous drugs.

“When the PMP was created, there were concerns about the inappropriate disclosure of private medical information, and so it was a misdemeanor to share any of this data with the public or the press,” Stanislawski said. 

Read More

Doxy’s Midnight Runners – FDA Considers Home Anthrax Kits?

Kaye Beach

April 6, 2012

An interesting debate is in progress after an FDA meeting to consider making an 10 day  emergency kit of the antibiotic, doxycycline,  available for the US population to have at home in the event of a bioterrorism attack using Anthrax.

 

From Bloomberg News published April 3, 2012

Anthrax Kits in 114M U.S. Homes Gets FDA Scrutiny

 

Making anthrax-antidote kits available to the 114 million households in the U.S. in case of a bioterrorism attack may lead to misuse of the medicines and stir up public fears, regulatory advisers said.

“People may infer an anthrax attack is imminent,” Thomas Moore, chairman of a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee, said in an interview yesterday after a meeting on the subject. “It may have an adverse impact on doxycycline,” the antibiotic that was hoarded after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, he said.

The FDA met with panels of scientists and academics to consider whether kits containing a 10-day supply of doxycycline should be available for all Americans to store in their homes in preparation for a bioterrorism attack. A branch of the Health and Human Services Department said it wants to start with 10 million first responders and their families before expanding it to the rest of the population.

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Moo-Shine!

Kaye Beach
March 31, 2012
Many people of sound mind and sound body, I might add, swear by the health benefits of  cow juice in the raw.   The government says it is not good for us and wants to protect us from our selves.
I have, and I will wager you have too,  experienced the benefits of non conventional remedies when modern medicine has failed me too many times to feel comfortable in letting the  government be the final arbiters on what is and is not healthy for me.
Access to raw milk is under fire across the nation and the product is being unfairly demonized as unsafe.
This is a use it or lose it proposition for us.  Whether we choose to partake of raw milk or not, we should  vigorously defend our right to nourish our bodies as we see fit.
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Oklahoma Raw Milk Laws

In Oklahoma the retail sale of raw milk is not permitted.

The Oklahoma Milk and Milk Product s Act regulates the sale of Grade A milk and milk products.

As currently written the Oklahoma Milk and Milk Products Act O.S. 2011, Section 7-414, which relates to milk producers, exempts “incidental sales” of raw milk directly to consumers if sold at the farm where the milk is produced.  Such incidental sales of raw milk to consumers do not require a permit.

OK. Stat. T. 2 § 7-406 (Only Grade A pasteurized Milk and Grade A Raw Milk may be sold to final consumer, but only Grade A pasteurized milk may be sold through restaurants, grocery stores, etc.), OK Stat. T.2 § 7-414 (laws do not apply to incidental sales of raw milk direct to consumer from farm (including up to 100 gallons of raw goat milk/month); OK ADC 35:37-13-1 through 6

TITLE 2 AGRICULTURE
CHAPTER 1 AGRICULTURAL CODE
ARTICLE 7. MILK AND DAIRY PRODUCTS AND MILK PRODUCTS PLANTS
D. OKLAHOMA MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS ACT

§ 2-7-406. Sale of Grade A milk and milk products.

A. Only Grade A pasteurized milk and milk products or Grade A raw milk shall be sold to the final consumer; provided, however:

1. Only Grade A pasteurized milk shall be sold through restaurants, soda fountains, grocery stores, or similar establishments, including school lunch rooms

§ 2-7-414. Construction of Act.

A. The provisions of the Oklahoma Milk and Milk Products Act shall not be construed to:

1. Include incidental sales of raw milk directly to consumers at the farm where the milk is produced;

Currently, raw milk is permitted to be sold at farmers markets through cow share lease agreements. Often lease holders pick up their milk at farmers markets.

  • Oklahoma Herd Share Laws/Title 4

How Cow or Goat-Share Programs Work

The consumer purchases a share in a milk cow, goat or dairy herd. The farmer and the consumer enter into a contract whereby the farmer feeds and boards the animal and provides the labor to milk the animal and store the consumer’s milk. Such contracts are legal and valid, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. The consumer does not buy milk from the farmer. Rather, they pay the farmer for the service of keeping the cow or goat and his labor for milking and processing the milk into value added products such as butter, cream, cheese, etc. However, they may directly purchase other products from the farm, such as eggs, vegetables and meat.

Cow and goat-share programs protect the farmer from liability since the animal belongs to the consumer and the consumer is drinking the milk from their own animal.

http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/cow-shares.html

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Mar. 16th, 201

RALEIGH — Picture a peaceful, Amish farmer, selling one of nature’s super foods — fresh, raw milk. Eager customers came from afar, even across state lines, to savor the taste and access a nutritious product. Who could oppose such harmonious commerce on Rainbow Acres Farm?

Government officials and their enforcers, that’s who. This Pennsylvania farmer has been the subject of a yearlong sting operation, which included stealth purchases and a 5 a.m. surprise inspection. In February, a federal judge imposed a permanent injunction that prohibited him from selling his milk across state lines. Given the strain of the confrontation, he has decided to call it quits entirely.

Could it get any worse? Actually, North Carolina has a far more draconian law, the topic of a House Committee hearing last week. In this state, raw milk cannot be sold for legal human consumption, period. Individuals are not even allowed to co-own a cow to gain access.

To defend this violation of freedom of choice, proponents claim to be protecting others from the purported dangers of raw milk. But this claim is laughable, since evidence to the contrary has been mounting for decades.

In fact, a myriad of developed nations allow raw milk sales without problems: Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Italy; the list goes on. Some of these nations are hardly known for their respect for liberty, and yet in this regard people living there are freer than North Carolinians.

Even Great Britain, that nation Americans fought against for independence, has legal, retail sales of raw milk. Supply in Europe is now so widespread — just part of everyday life — that many nations have vending machines with raw milk in supermarkets and shopping malls, and on street corners.

Back in the United States, a recent federal report (PDF) from the Centers for Disease Control did not find a single death from the product in a 14-year research period, while in 2007 alone, three individuals died on account of pasteurized milk. That is despite raw milk’s availability for legal, retail sale in nine states, including South Carolina; more than 9 million Americans consume it. The CDC acknowledged that pasteurization kills beneficial nutrients in milk, and they found state prohibition of raw milk gave no statistically significant advantage in terms of food-borne illness.

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EVERY MED YOU TAKE, They’ll BE WATCHING YOU – Prescription Monitoring Programs

Kaye Beach

March 18, 2012


Prescription Monitoring Program

DESCRIPTION: A PMP is a statewide electronic database which collects designated data on substances dispensed in the state. The PMP is housed by a specified statewide regulatory, administrative or law enforcement agency. The housing agency distributes data from the database to individuals who are authorized under state law to receive the information for purposes of their profession.

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The states have received plenty of federal funding from the DOJ for the creation of PMP’s.

the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Justice Programs in the U.S. Department of Justice created the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (HRPDMP) in 2002 (3).

Funds for this program were provided by Congress to assist in the planning, implementation, and in some cases the enhancement of state PDMPs. From 2002 to 2008, over 100 state HRPDMP grants were awarded by the BJA.

For fiscal year (FY) 2009, $7 million was appropriated by Congress for the HRPDMP. President Barack Obama proposed that the budget for 2010 would include $7 million for the grant program (4).

http://chfs.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/85989824-1030-4AA6-91E1 7F9E3EF68827/0/KASPEREvaluationPDMPStatusFinalReport6242010.pdf

The goal of the State of Oklahoma is to reduce prescription fraud, substance abuse, “doctor shopping”, and other illegal activity related to pharmaceutical drug diversion. The Bureau works in partnership with pharmacies, practitioners and other health care professionals throughout Oklahoma to reduce prescription drug abuse.

The Oklahoma Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) was enacted into law by the Oklahoma Anti-Drug Diversion Act (63 O.S. Section: 2-309). http://www.ok.gov/obndd/Prescription_Monitoring_Program/

Oklahoma is credited as the first state to begin using a prescription monitoring program back in the early 90’s.  Now Oklahoma has raced to the top again with its high tech, electronic PMP that boasts real time prescription data sharing beginning this year.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control started the monitoring program in 2006 to reduce prescription fraud, substance abuse and “doctor shopping.”  http://newsok.com/real-time-reporting-law-could-cut-down-on-prescription-abuse-fraud-oklahoma-officials-say/article/3646147#ixzz1osdhdWGx

Oklahoma’s modern electronic PMP has been running since 2006 and three quarters of doctors and pharmacies use the program.

Oklahoma to Track Prescription Drug Abuse

2006

Under a statewide database program to be administered by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, authorities will track instances in which substance abusers try to fraudulently acquire prescription drugs

 . . .”The CONTROL project is a vital tool that will help crack down on prescription drug abuse and help get desperately needed treatment for people suffering addiction,” (Emphasis mine) Gov. Henry said at a state Capitol news conference.

. . .Under CONTROL, physicians and pharmacists will be able to check a patient’s prescription history from hospitals, clinics and pharmacies to deduce whether that person is “doctor shopping” for drugs. The entire process, which includes safeguards to prevent abuse, will take only a matter of minutes.. . . The program goes online July 1 and is entirely funded through federal grants. Oklahoma to Track Prescription Drug Abuse

http://www.govtech.com/e-government/Oklahoma-to-Track-Prescription-Drug-Abuse.html

With all of these firsts for Oklahoma in prescription drug monitoring, doesn’t it seem rather ironic that the state also boasts #1 status in prescription drug use and in painkiller abuse?

Oklahoma is #1 in prescription drug use per capita

http://enidnews.com/state/x579806793/Oklahoma-lawmaker-say-bill-fights-prescription-abuse

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oklahoma is #1 in painkiller abuse

The report [Centers for Disease Control] says that Oklahoma leads statistics with the highest number of people — 1 in 12 — using painkillers recreationally.

Nov. 10, 2011 http://www.officer.com/news/10449255/okla-police-working-to-stop-prescription-drug-abuse

Last year, about 240,000 people in Oklahoma, or 8%, abused prescription drugs, giving the state the highest mark in the nation, although New Mexico and West Virginia lead in per-capita overdose deaths.

Prescription drugs are responsible for four in five overdose deaths in Oklahoma.  The leading causes of drug-related deaths in Oklahoma in 2010 were hydrocodone, oxycodone and alprasolam. http://www.allgov.com/Controversies/ViewNews/Drug_Addiction_in_Oklahoma_Costs_More_than_Entire_State_Budget_120313

While the Oklahoma PMP monitors a wide range of drugs (all schedule II-V)  it is the painkillers that are causing the brunt of the deaths and addiction related problems such as doctor shopping which the PMP is tailor made to address.

Oxycodone addiction and abuse, in particular a drug called OcyContin, is without a doubt a horrible problem.  Over the years I have personally heard of numerous cases of addiction and accidental overdoses from OxyContin.  The maker of the drug, Purdue, back in the mid 90’s, presented their new formulation of the drug oxycodone as less addictive and safer that the older preparations for the drug

Purdue knew it needed to overcome doctors’ fears about addiction, so it treated the time-release formula as a magic bullet. It claimed the drug would give pain patients steadier 12-hour coverage, avoid withdrawal, and frustrate addicts seeking a euphoric rush. As one 1998 Purdue promotional video stated, the rate of addiction for opioid users treated by doctors is “much less than 1%.”

The pitch worked, and sales took off: from $45 million in 1996 to $1.5 billion in 2002 to nearly $3 billion by 2009. The key: Nearly half of those prescribing OxyContin were primary-care doctors rather than, say, cancer specialists, the General Accounting Office reported. Purdue had succeeded in vastly expanding the market for its drug http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2011/11/09/oxycontin-purdue-pharma/

Purdue aggressively marketed the painkiller and downplayed the risk of addiction at the expense of lives.  The company was prosecuted for its misleading campaign, found guilty and had to pay out millions in fines.

When it was introduced in the late ’90s, OxyContin was touted as nearly addiction-proof — only to leave a trail of dependence and destruction. Its marketing was misleading enough that Purdue pleaded guilty in 2007 to a federal criminal count of misbranding the drug “with intent to defraud and mislead the public,” paid $635 million in penalties, and today remains on the corporate equivalent of probation. http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2011/11/09/oxycontin-purdue-pharma/

So big Pharma worked its magic and we are left to deal with the fallout.  Prescription Monitoring Programs are being offered as a solution to the death and destruction wrought by prescription drug addiction but I can find nothing to show that the program is doing much, if anything,  to help.

Prescription-drug overdoses are major killer in Oklahoma

3/11/2012

The number of fatal drug overdoses in Oklahoma more than doubled over the past 10 years, climbing to 739 in 2010. . .

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=702&articleid=20120311_11_A1_CUTLIN378385

The PMP is a statewide database program administered by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, a law enforcement agency.

These state programs are now being linked for the purpose of sharing this information across state lines around the nation.

This  2002, a General Accounting Office report concluded that state PDMPs were a helpful tool for reducing drug diversion based not on any hard facts or numbers but on enthusiastic reports from law enforcement users and PDMP managers.  (GAO Report to the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives. Prescription Drugs: State Monitoring Programs Provide Useful Tool to Reduce Diversion. May 2002. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d02634.pdf.)

Here is some insight from a 2011 study that “. . .evaluated the association of PDMPs with drug overdose mortality rates and consumption of prescription opioid medications in the United States during 1999–2005.”

Conclusions. While PDMPs are potentially an important tool to prevent the nonmedical use of prescribed controlled substances, their impact is not reflected in drug overdose mortality rates. Their effect on overall consumption of opioids appears to be minimal.

PDMPs were not associated with lower drug overdose mortality rates for any of the study years or with decreases (or even with lesser increases) in the rates of death resulting from drug overdoses.

The findings also indicate that PDMPs were not associated with lower rates of consumption of opioids during 1999–2005. . . Even when focused on proactive PDMPs or programs with relatively high rates of reporting, there were no associations of PDMPs with trends in overdose deaths or opioid use.  . . . it can be said unequivocally that PDMP states did not do any better than non-PDMP states in controlling the rise in drug overdose mortality from 1999 to 2005

Source: 2011 Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs and Death Rates from Drug Overdose. 

In a nutshell;

  • PMP’s showed no effect on the number of deaths from drug overdoses.
  • PMP’s showed no effect on levels of consumption of painkillers
  • The states with PMP fared no better in controlling the rise in drug overdose mortality.  (In Oklahoma’s case, we actually fared worse that states with no PMP!)

Nevertheless, we are being treated to a deluge of news stories bringing us heart wrenching tales of lives lost or ruined by prescription painkiller abuse.  These same stories offer the salvation of a nationwide integrated government prescription tracking database for everyone.  The fact that this is an invasion of our medical privacy and a violation of doctor-patient confidentiality is never mentioned in these stories.

Who is Authorized to Request Patient Prescription Data?  (Apparently just about everyone BUT you)

Oklahoma

  • Prescribers YES
  • Pharmacists YES
  • Pharmacies YES
  • Law Enforcement YES
  • Licensing Boards YES
  • Patients NO
  • If other requester (specify) Attorney General, Medical Examiners

http://www.pmpalliance.org/content/who-authorized-request-patient-prescription-data

The PMP’s are (in some states like Oklahoma) law enforcement programs, funded by law enforcement agencies for the purpose of feeding your personal information to law enforcement as an investigative tool.  Another way to say it, is they are spying on the majority of law abiding people because they might do something wrong.

Aren’t we are supposed to presumed innocent until proven guilty? If we are doing nothing wrong, aren’t we supposed to be left alone?   Yes!  That is exactly how it is supposed to be.

The National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws (NAMSDL) recommends;

Monitoring systems should proactively provide information to law enforcement agencies, licensing officials, and other appropriate individuals. This information should be reviewed by a drug monitoring official and if there is reason to suspect that a violation has occurred, the offender should be reported to the appropriate agency.

In addition, a statute must be in place that allows programs to disclose information for public research, policy, and educational purposes. . .(Emphasis  mine)

http://chfs.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/85989824-1030-4AA6-91E17F9E3EF68827/0/KASPEREvaluationPDMPStatusFinalReport6242010.pd

I don’t know about you but the idea of my medical information being accessed by a variety of people ( all benevolent and caring as they may be)  makes me feel violated and powerless. This is very personal information!

Prescription tracking: Too invasive? Steve Klearman September 07, 2008

The push for monitoring is coming not just from doctors and public health officials but the attorney general’s office. And it would likely be a useful tool. But it’s easy to imagine a time when lobbyists could convince lawmakers that the drug problem has become severe enough to grant law enforcement agencies unfettered access to everyone’s prescription history without a warrant. Then, agents would view the private medical information of hordes of innocent people in hopes of nabbing a small number of abusers.

. . . Even more troubling is the thought that computer hackers or bribed employees could obtain the records and sell them. The information would be very valuable to pharmaceutical companies, and to insurers and employers who want to avoid both abusers and people in need of expensive health care.  http://reno.injuryboard.com/fda-and-prescription-drugs/prescription-tracking-too-invasive.aspx?googleid=246936

Mr. Klearman’s concerns about the databases being hacked were born out in 2009.  In May 2009, hackers gained access to Virginia’s Prescription Monitoring Program and held 8 million patient records hostage for 10 million dollars in ransom.

Hackers Break Into Virginia Health Professions Database, Demand Ransom

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2009/05/hackers_break_into_virginia_he.html

Oklahoma prescription drug monitoring: what’s collected? by  Paul Monies July 5, 2011

. . . .

Senate Bill 1159, by Republicans Sen. Anthony Sykes and Rep. Randy Terrill, expanded the information collected under the PMP program to include the address and date of birth of patients getting a prescription for certain classes of drugs.

Here’s what the PMP program collects on each prescription, according to Oklahoma law and the administrative rules of OBNDD:

A. Section 2-309C. A. A dispenser of a Schedule II, III, IV or V controlled dangerous substance, except Schedule V substances that contain any detectable quantity of pseudoephedrine, its salts or optical isomers, or salts of optical isomers shall transmit to a central repository designated by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control using the American Society for Automation in Pharmacy’s (ASAP) Telecommunications Format for Controlled Substances version designated in rules by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, the following information for each dispensation:

1. Recipient’s name;

2. Recipient’s address;

3. Recipient’s date of birth;

4. Recipient’s identification number;

5. National Drug Code number of the substance dispensed;

6. Date of the dispensation;

7. Quantity of the substance dispensed;

8. Prescriber’s United States Drug Enforcement Agency registration number; and

9. Dispenser’s registration number; and

10. Other information as required by administrative rule.

B. The information required by this section shall be transmitted:

1. In a format or other media designated acceptable by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control; and

2. Within twenty-four (24) hours of the time that the substance is dispensed. Beginning January 1, 2012, all information shall be submitted on a real-time log.

Oklahoma prescription drug monitoring: what’s collected? by  Paul Monies July 5, 2011

The Prescription Monitoring Programs are indeed a violation of privacy but when you have people dying of prescription drug overdoses, for some, the trade-off might seem reasonable. It is important to point out in response to the media saturation of tragic tales in support of the PMP, that there is no indication whatsoever that the invasive surveillance of our medical information does anything to reduce the problem.  I will be interested in researching just what sort of measures are in place to get an addict some help once caught by the PMP but from what I have seen so far, this appears to be just one more invasive  program to track and control Americans in the name of safety.