Category Archives: Data Minining

Bar Shares Scanned ID Card Data with Cops

bar code escape

Kaye Beach

June 1, 2013

Hat tip to Steve Spingola http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/spingolafiles/

Update June 2, 2013 and here is Steve’s article on the matter:  In Appleton, Wisconsin, Having a Cold One is Now the Government’s Business

 

Across the country, citizens are surprised and sometimes outraged by increasing demands by businesses and government to submit to the instant capture and downloading of all of the data contained on their driver’s licenses and ID cards as a condition for ACCESS.

You might wonder what your data is being used for after it is taken.

(Read- ‘Best Buy’s Worst Policy-Swiping ID’s and Destiny Management’)

The answer is whatever they want to use it for including letting law enforcement troll through it looking for any naughty law-breakers.

The article below gives one example of how your once lowly driver’s license that is now empowered with machine readable technology (RFID or 2D barcodes) and your facial biometrics, is performing exactly as designed.  These technologies are designed to make you easier to track, monitor and control.

If my license must be scanned as a condition to access an establishment, then that is a place I will not go.

In Appleton, bar owners share patron data with police seeking probation violators

Owners of Appleton’s more popular bars turning over data on all their patrons to police, who use it to find people violating probation and those wanted on warrants.

According to the Appleton Post-Crescent, last year data was collected on some 8,500 bar goers, including 241 who were not supposed to be going to the establishments.

The practice has raised some privacy concerns.

“The technology doesn’t give any particular thought to privacy concerns since everybody who enters gets scanned,” Chris Ahmuty, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, told the Post-Crescent.

Appleton police loan two high-tech scanners to the city’s high-volume bars, who use them for everyone who enters. The scanners detect fake IDs and let bouncers block those users’ entrance.

But the scanners also store up names, ages and addresses from every ID scanned, data the police then download from the scanners and cross-checked against lists of probationers and those wanted on warrants.

Some bars who buy their own scanners use the data gathered for marketing purposes as well.

Read more

A First! Florida Intelligence Officer Admits Investigating People in Public using Facial Recognition

Kaye Beach

September 17, 2012

This is the first public admission, to my knowledge, by law enforcement that confirms that they are doing exactly what myself and others have been warning about-using facial recognition on people in public.

Just a few days ago I updated readers on Oklahoma’s steady progress toward compliance with the federal Real ID Act in spite of the fact that implementation of that act is prohibited by law in our state.

The most egregious part of the Real ID Act is the capture and retention of our facial biometrics.   As I explained;

. . .facial biometrics is the governments biometric of choice.  Why?  It is not the most accurate biometric for identification purposes but it does allow us to be identified in public without our knowledge or consent. link

An intelligence officer from the St. Petersburg Police Dept. just let the cat completely put of the bag!

Here is a snippet of an explosive article just reported by the ACLU :

Police in Tampa used smartphones and tablets to spy on protesters at the Republican National Convention, according to a report today from the National Journal.

Smartphones have proven to be an excellent tool for empowering individuals faced with sometimes unprofessional or abusive law enforcement officers, thanks to their built-in cameras and the constitutional right to record the police. But they also allow the police, according to the article, to blend in and transmit live video of protesters:

“The specialized applications gave law enforcement an advantage, allowing police officers to use everyday devices in a strategic and tactical way,” said Sgt. Dale Moushon, with the Intelligence Unit of the St. Petersburg Police Department….

While undercover police in most protests are often easily identified by their earpieces or microphones in their sleeves, Moushon told National Journal that using cell phones allowed police to remain completely undetected. “Everyone has a phone, so officers blend in easier,” he said….

He also pointed to an instance in which an officer was preparing to take a picture of a suspicious person so staff could use facial-recognition software to identify the person. Instead, the person happened to pull out a document that included his identifying information that was then captured in real-time by the officer’s live video feed. “That saved us a lot of time,” Moushon said.

We shouldn’t just accept that undercover police will infiltrate peaceful protesters exercising their First Amendment rights, photograph them, and use face recognition or other techniques to identity them. We must not come to accept the existence of a secret police in our society.

. . . Mike German, who infiltrated numerous criminal groups as an undercover FBI operative, notes that there should be reasonable suspicion—an articulable basis in fact—that a crime has or will be committed before the police begin an investigation

Read More

This is an outrage!  Lawful dissent is supposed to be afforded the highest degree of First Amendment protection.  If you value  your right to chastise your wayward government without being investigated, harassed and intimidated-you should be very concerned about this development.

This is not just a matter of the local police.  Remember, Florida received 50 million dollars from the federal government to set up this system. They are connected with a variety of other intelligence centers including the Florida Fusion Center directly linking with federal agencies.

CTIC maintains an operational relationship with other state law enforcement agencies, as well as the FBI and DHS. The role of CTIC continues to evolve as their participation in the Florida Fusion Center grows. Recently, CTIC began providing information for Department of Homeland Security Information Reports that are disseminated not only to other law enforcement elements, but to members of the United States Intelligence Community as well. Link

The absolute necessity of my lawsuit could not be any more apparent than it is right now.  If you are having difficulty in understanding the implications of this admission I suggest you simply mentally replace the RNC protestor with any unpopular group member you like; perhaps yourself.

Fox 25 Covers Consumer Concerns About Driver’s License Scanning

Kaye Beach

September 8, 2012

Back in April I looked into the practice of retail stores scanning driver’s licenses as a condition for returns that was really making some customers angry.

Best Buy’s Worst Policy-Swiping ID’s and Destiny Management

The practice is becoming more and more prevalent.

Swiping of driver’s licenses is being required for buying gas (in case you try to leave without paying), for entry to public schools (in case you might be child predator and if you are misidentified as a sex offender, which happens often enough, well, stinks for you!), for buying cold medicine, for entry to bars and casinos, San Francisco wants ID swipes for most public events, Harlem wants tenants to swipe to gain entry to their homes,  and now, the TSA is swiping  airline passengers’ ID’s .

Turning our driver’s license into an all purpose access and identity card is contributing to the creation of a 24/7 digital footprint that can be recalled on each of us.  While it may be more convenient and efficient for corporations and the government, it makes us less secure.

Last night Fox 25 News took a look into the practice.  I talk about a sticker trick you can use to protect yourself from ‘sudden scanning shock’ and Fox 25 News Legal Analyst, David Slane gives his opinion on the matter and says that the the ‘sticker trick’ does not run afoul of any state laws. (I have to credit Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst for the ACLU as the source of inspiration for the sticker trick-Creative solution!)

Once again, Fox 25 stands apart from the pack for their willingness to investigate and cover news that we care about.  Thank you Kisha Henry and Fox 25!

Tonight at nine, Fox 25′s Kisha Henry introduces us to a woman who currently is in legal battle with the Department of Public Safety over her right to privacy associated with her state driver’s license. We’ll also hear what stores are legally allowed to do with that information, and what you can do to prevent them from having it.

Read more and watch the video here

You Are The Product, Not The Client: The Personal Data Economy Explained

Kaye Beach

August, 6, 2012

Didn’t our parents tell us that “you don’t get something for nothing”?   They were right, of course.

This article published July 16, 2012 by Chris Hoffman explains how you are the product and not the client for the companies providing all of these  supposedly ‘free’ services (like Facebook, Gmail and more)  Also, check out some of the tools provided to see just who is tracking you online and how.

 

You Are The Product, Not The Client: The Personal Data Economy Explained

As Andrew Lewis once said “If you’re not paying for something, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold”. Think about the implications of that quote for a moment – how many free services do we use online every day? When we use Facebook, make a search on Google, or check our Gmail, we like to think that we’re the customer – Facebook, Google, or whatever other website is providing a service to us. But we’re rarely the customer online – instead, we’re the product being sold to advertisers and tracking networks.

More accurately, the product is our personal data, which is being sold to advertisers, collected in massive databases, and used to target advertising and built up detailed profiles on us.

Read more

facebook twitter rss Pentagon wants software to monitor Facebook, Twitter to predict terrorism

Published today, July 30, 2012 at NextGov.com.

The Pentagon wants computer programs that predict “cyber terrorism events” by detecting how criminal groups and hackers interact on the Internet, contracting databases indicate.

The military research arm wants scientists to build the tools to comb through networking sites — such as Facebook and Twitter — to analyze the group dynamics of online communities. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will fund the development of algorithms that make sense of the chatter of over a million Internet users, and track how online groups evolve. The goal is to help strategists identify how communities are recruiting and collaborating, who they are targeting, and the shifting allegiances in these spaces.

 

Read more

14 Incredibly Creepy Surveillance Technologies That Big Brother Will Soon Be Using To Spy On You

Kaye Beach

July 10, 2012

If we were making the technology conform to the laws intended to protect our rights rather than making the law conform to the capabilities of the technology, these things would not be such a concern.

1 “Pre-Crime” Surveillance Cameras

#2 Capturing Fingerprints From 20 Feet Away

#3 Mobile Backscatter Vans

#4 Hijacking Your Mind

#5 Unmanned Drones In U.S. Airspace

#6 Law Enforcement Using Your Own Cell Phone To Spy On You

#7 Biometric Databases

#8 RFID Microchips

#9 Automated License Plate Readers

#10 Face Reading Software

#11 Data Mining

#12 Street Lights Spying On Us?

#13 Automated ISP Monitoring Of Your Internet Activity

#14 Spying On Us Through Our Appliances

From Blacklisted News

Source: Michael Snyder, BLN Contributing Writer

Most of us don’t think much about it, but the truth is that people are being watched, tracked and monitored more today than at any other time in human history.  The explosive growth of technology in recent years has given governments, spy agencies and big corporations monitoring tools that the despots and dictators of the past could only dream of.  Previous generations never had to deal with “pre-crime” surveillance cameras that use body language to spot criminals or unmanned drones watching them from far above.  Previous generations would have never even dreamed that street lights and refrigerators might be spying on them.  Many of the incredibly creepy surveillance technologies that you are about to read about are likely to absolutely astound you.  We are rapidly heading toward a world where there will be no such thing as privacy anymore.  Big Brother is becoming all-pervasive, and thousands of new technologies are currently being developed that will make it even easier to spy on you.  The world is changing at a breathtaking pace, and a lot of the changes are definitely not for the better.

The following are 14 incredibly creepy surveillance technologies that Big Brother will soon be using to watch you….

Read on

Are Oklahoma Cops Using Spy Cams to Become Super Snoopers?

Kaye Beach

June 16, 2012

Two police agencies (to my knowledge) in Oklahoma are now using Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPR).  The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department and the Shawnee Police Department.

LINK

These cameras snap photographs of license plates and store the image along with the vehicle’s registration data plus the time date and location of every vehicle captured. ALPR can be mounted on police vehicles or in a fixed location and they can capture thousands of license plates per hour.

Shawnee Police Chief Russell Frantz is very excited about his new surveillance technology for the same reason Oklahomans should be concerned.

“For investigating, it will be phenomenal,” Frantz said. Link

ALPR is great for spotting stolen vehicles or wanted criminals but they also capture the information of completely innocent drivers.  If the information captured on non-offending drivers was immediately discarded then the concern would not be so great but that is not what is happening.  Without proper rules in place, this potentially valuable tool becomes nothing less than a nationwide tracking system.

As I have written about recently, the information is being used by a private company, Vigilant Video, to build an enormous database, the National Vehicle Location Service (NLVS).   As a private corporation Vigilant Video is not bound to any privacy requirements which (somewhat) restrain governmental entities and yet police departments nationwide are both supplying and utilizing the NLVS database.

You can watch Vigilant Video’s ticker that reveals how many records have been consumed by their national database here.  At the moment of this writing the count was 669, 699,058.

If you follow the link to view the ticker, be sure to look at the other products this company is offering.

Line Up” certainly caught my attention.

LineUp collects face images, detection times and “entire human” (full body) images — then catalogs all human face events into a centralized database. Using the LineUp Event Search, you can enter a suspect image into the system — and instantly search through a time-based history of every possible match.

This isn’t an issue of lack of privacy in public. We cannot stop ourselves from being viewed or photographed once we enter the public sphere. ALPR collecting, storing and sharing of this data is more properly understood to be much more than a simple sighting in public-it’s an investigation. (More on that aspect here)

The Electronic Police State

An electronic police state is characterized by state use of electronic technologies to record, organize, search and distribute forensic evidence against its citizens.

The information gathered under an electronic police state is criminal evidence, ready for use in a trial. It is gathered universally (“preventively”) and only later organized for use in prosecutions.

In an Electronic Police State, every surveillance camera recording, every email sent, every Internet site surfed, every post made, every check written, every credit card swipe, every cell phone ping…are all criminal evidence, and all are held in searchable databases. The individual can be prosecuted whenever the government wishes.

Link

I consider it to be an assault on my autonomy as a free, independent and law abiding citizen to be entered into a tracking database.   It may surprise you to know that although I am a law abiding person, I still have plenty I would like to hide from the government.  I don’t want them to know where I go to church, who I associate with, what political events I attend or where I get my nails done.  Even though I am not doing anything wrong-they are- and it is none of their damn business! 

Lots of people have plenty to hide that is still no business whatsoever of the police or any of their cronies that they might be persuaded to share this info with.   If you happen to go to AA, have a sweetie on the side or are a politician (hello!)-you should be especially concerned and more than a little creeped out.

The only reason to track and monitor anything is for control so what does that tell you about the collection of this type of information on all of us?

I suggest that residents of Shawnee and Oklahoma County contact their Police Chief or Sheriff and ask a few questions about how this data is being used.

You have a right to receive from your chief law enforcement official;

  • A copy of their data policy and privacy policy governing ALPR’s
  • Any documents showing how the collected plate data is stored, shared and/or deleted
  • Any auditing requirements the department has to ensure appropriate data privacy, and to discover and punish any abuse of the system.

You should be able to get this information by simply requesting it.  I say “should.” It may not be that simple in which case you will want to structure your request to include reminders of Oklahoma’s Open Records Act.  Fortunately, there is an easy way to do this.  Use a template!

Oklahoma Open Records request template

http://journalism.okstate.edu/faculty/jsenat/requestletter.htm

About OK Open Records Act

http://andylester.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=3Yx2gpCgJBM%3D&tabid=81

Autonomy  is “The desire to avoid being manipulated or dominated wholly by others.

… Loss of autonomy means loss of our capacity to control our own  life

It also would be a good idea for anyone who is concerned about their privacy or autonomy to contact their local police or sheriff’s department and ask if they have or are considering using ALPR and let them know that you will cause a ruckus if they use this technology inappropriately.

Data should not be retained or shared on innocent motorists!

Best Buy’s Worst Policy-Swiping ID’s and Destiny Management

Kaye Beach

April, 14, 2012

Best Buy (and Victoria’s Secret and The Finish Line and many other stores!) Requires Govt. Issued Photo ID for ALL Returns.

The ID card data is swiped, stored and shared with a third party  to track customer purchases and “to monitor the return behavior of shoppers; and warn or deny individuals flagged as questionable” Link to The Retail Equation, Inc.’s brochure

 

Best Buy’s return policy;

Returns Tracking

When you return or exchange an item in store, we require a valid photo ID. Some of the information from your ID may be stored in a secure database used to track returns and exchanges. Based on return/exchange patterns, some customers will be warned that subsequent purchases will not be eligible for returns or exchanges for 90 days. . .

Link

. . . And how do we like it so far?

I’m Done With Best Buy Thanks to The Retail Equation

03-18-2012 02:37 PM

I am a premier silver member and have been for several years.  In November of last year, I received a warning in store that I could not make any returns at Best Buy for 90 days.  So for the next 90 days I did not make any purchases at Best Buy.

Yesterday, I spent over 700.00 on the new Ipad and an Invisible Shield.  The Invisible Shield was not installed correctly and Best Buy decided to give me a refund.  Keep in mind that this was only 29.99 of the amount I spent.  This was the first purchase I have made since the 90 days had expired.  I figured that I could return something that was actually not working correctly and be fine.  However I received another warning today saying that I could not return anything for 90 days even though the product was not working correctly.

It sounds like The Retail Equation (TRE) does not take into consideration that some returns might be valid due to defective products.  All TRE looks at is how many returns and that is not a fair way to evaluate whether someone is abusing a return policy.   In the end, Best Buy has lost a premier silver member.  Amazon and other online retailers will gladly accept my business going forward.  Best Buy seriously needs to find another way to evaluate returns instead of TRE.  Their method simply does not work.

http://forums.bestbuy.com/t5/Best-Buy-Geek-Squad-Policies/I-m-Done-With-Best-Buy-Thanks-to-The-Retail-Equation/td-p/486051

Another unhappy Best Buy customer is suing them over their “swiping” policy.

How does this work?  According to the Retail Equation, Inc.,

“The technology’s predictive modeling measured the likelihood of fraudulent or abusive behavior, as well as the likelihood of a consumer’s profitability”

 Predictive Analytics

From Wikipedia  Predictive analytics encompasses a variety of statistical techniques from modeling, machine learning, data mining and game theory that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future events.

Data mining and predictive analytics is being used in just about every aspect of our lives.  Predictive analytics applies a mathematical formula to masses of data to predict what a person is more or less likely to do in the future.  Decisions are being made that affects our lives, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse, every day.

For example, in our schools;

“They use their technology infrastructure to gather and analyze data on the factors that are most predictive of students who are in danger of school failure and/or dropping out.  . . .As a result, the district has forged new partnerships with local law enforcement agencies”

From the Oklahoma Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development pg 26

If you think it stinks when you are misidentified as a naughty shopper, wait till you are misidentified as a “troubled individual”

Technology identifies troubled individuals

Sept 26, 2010

Imagine using the same technology to locate a lone bomber before he carries out his terrorist act and to identify a troubled veteran or first responder ground down by tragedies and violence.

Stop imagining.

A Swiss professor working with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist who heads the Mind Machine Project there outlined how this program operates through computerized scanning of phone calls and electronic messages sent through e-mail and social networking mechanisms.

. . . Using character traits that have been identified through psychological profiles conducted on lone bombers following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Guidere said he and his colleagues developed programs that isolate signs pointing to a potential terrorist.

He said lone bombers, in particular, are not mentally deranged but harbor hatred and deep resentment toward government. Their emotional spikes, Guidere explained, can be identified by the computer program.

The practical side is that once the individual has been identified, the information can be passed along to authorities so surveillance can begin. . .

Read more

The burgeoning use of driver’s license scanning devices makes tracking and monitoring of the population much easier.  When these data are held in separate databases there are plenty of security and privacy concerns but if the databases are linked or matched with other databases or shared-watch out!  The negative implications explode at that point.

In case you are wondering just what information is in those bar codes on your driver’s license, here is a link for you to follow and find out.

And here is a great article from 2002 which is ancient history from a technology capability perspective, but it does a great job of allowing us to begin to consider the implications of widespread scanning of our government issued photo ID’s .

Welcome to the Database Lounge

Published: March 21, 2002

ABOUT 10,000 people a week go to The Rack, a bar in Boston favored by sports stars, including members of the New England Patriots. One by one, they hand over their driver’s licenses to a doorman, who swipes them through a sleek black machine. If a license is valid and its holder is over 21, a red light blinks and the patron is waved through.

But most of the customers are not aware that it also pulls up the name, address, birth date and other personal details from a data strip on the back of the license. Even height, eye color and sometimes Social Security number are registered.

”You swipe the license, and all of a sudden someone’s whole life as we know it pops up in front of you,” said Paul Barclay, the bar’s owner. ”It’s almost voyeuristic.”

Mr. Barclay bought the machine to keep out underage drinkers who use fake ID’s. But he soon found that he could build a database of personal information, providing an intimate perspective on his clientele that can be useful in marketing. ”It’s not just an ID check,” he said. ”It’s a tool.”

Read More

Swiping of driver’s licenses is being required for buying gas (in case you try to leave without paying), for entry to public schools (in case you might be child predator and if you are misidentified as a sex offender, which happens often enough, well, stinks for you!), for buying cold medicine, for entry to bars and casinos, San Francisco wants ID swipes for most public events, Harlem wants tenants to swipe to gain entry to their homes,  and now, the TSA is swiping  airline passengers’ ID’s .

 

TSA tests ID-scanning machines at Washington Dulles

April 14, 2012

The Transportation Security Administration began an experiment today at Washington’s Dulles International Airport to check identification and boarding passes by machine rather than just the visual check by officers.

While TSA officers have been checking identification with black-lights and magnifying glasses, the machines are geared to recognize all valid identification, ranging from driver’s license or passport to tribal identification or foreign passport.

“For efficiency, it is fantastic,” said Domenic Bianchini, TSA director of checkpoint technology. “We think it’s a valuable technology and we think over time we will see the real value added.”

The machine doesn’t store any personal information about the passenger, according to Greg Soule, a TSA spokesman.

Gee.  When have we heard that before?

Although TSA has repeatedly stated that the scanners were “incapable of storing or transmitting” scanner images, despite specification data to the contrary provided by the respective manufacturers. In August 2010 EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) discovered that the TSA had stored over 2,000 images, which the agency quickly claimed were of “volunteers” without specifying who compose this group or whether any were passengers who had “voluntarily” used the scanners in the testing phase.

Read more

The TSA is conducting the driver’s license “experiment” at Dulles, Houston and Puerto Rico but hopes to eventually “expand the program to every airport checkpoint” Read more

At some point in the not-so-distant-future, we will be required to show and/or swipe our driver’s license for just about everything we as humans need to live.  As the process grows more and more automated and the data is digitized, we will find our movements, transactions and habits logged and our lives tracked and documented.    Data mining and predictive analytics will be applied to nearly everything we do.  The purpose of such credentialing processes is to allow some access and deny others, deemed unworthy by algorithm, access.

In 2010 I was repeatedly denied the ability to pay for my purchases by check due to a company called Certegy’s algorithm which decided that since I rarely write checks but had written several during the Christmas shopping season, this indicated that I was untrustworthy and that stores should not accept my checks.  The year before, I was denied the privilege of renting a car because my credit score was too low.  My credit score is low because I don’t buy on credit!  I wasn’t asking to pay for the rental with credit either.  I offered my debit card.

Chances are you have experienced similar incidents.  Chances are that we have encountered other bumps in the road of life when no explanation for the problem was ever given but likely there was some algorithm behind it.  This is our future.  In health care, travel, purchases, renting or buying our homes, anything information about us that can be digitized can be factored in to determine whether or not we measure up.  This is nothing short of destiny management.

With the governments unhealthy focus on security at all costs, we can expect things to get more and more complicated as the practice of tracking and tracing and databasing everything we do grows. Woe to those that are unfortunate enough to be perceived as a possible threat or have a data trail that makes them appear less than an ideal citizen in the eyes of Big Momma Gov. who is no longer willing to wait for us to actually do something wrong before she pounces.  This government (and its partner corporations) wants to play psychic and limit our opportunities based on some supposed prescient power that indicates that we are more likely to do something naughty in the first place.

How do we exercise our free will when it is being effectively pre-empted?

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

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.

Read More

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.