Tag Archives: medical

OCSO Vet. Maj. Waldenville Says Promises Broken, Donations Missing

Kaye Beach

Oct. 22, 2012

Remember Major John Waldenville?

May 21, 2011, just after midnight, Waldenville was ambushed while carrying the nightly deposit from the restaurant where he worked as a security guard to the bank around the corner. The 25-year law enforcement veteran didn’t have time to react or plead his case before the gun went off. The bullet went in just above his right eye, severing his optic nerve, and through his ear before shattering his jaw and settling in his jowls.

The bleeding and swelling caused so much trauma to his brain he has spent the past year just learning how to function again.  Read more: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-county-sheriffs-major-to-be-honored-for-courage-after-life-changing-injury/article/3704046#ixzz2A3KdllAD

Yesterday,  Waldenville,  made several alarming allegations about his treatment after the shooting by Sheriff John Whetsel and the OK County Sheriffs Office where he has served for 25 years.

“I just felt like I’d literally been thrown to the curb.”

Among these allegations is that donations totaling thousands made towards his medical recovery were never received by him.

. . .they discovered thousands of dollars missing from various fundraisers held in his name. Read  more 

But according to  the OK County Sheriff’s Office, Waldenville received every bit of money.

the Oklahoma County Fraternal Order of Police handled the fundraising efforts. The FOP maintained detailed accounting of every penny that was raised totaling $142,205.79. The funds were deposited in a separate account and every penny raised was given to an attorney representing the Waldenville family on October 6, 2011. link

Waldenville says he  was assured by Sheriff Whetsel that  workman’s comp. would be forthcoming and has dated text messages from the Sheriff to prove it.

He said since the shooting, his wife Marjorie received several text messages from Sheriff John Whetsel, assuring them that he would receive worker’s compensation benefits. But the Waldenville’s say that never happened.

The sheriff’s office is now denying any culpability in the matter saying that;

“Issues of workers compensation, disability, and health care are handled by the Oklahoma County Human Resources Department, not the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.”

Waldenville mentions failed attempts on his part to resolve these issues (see News 9 video report) but  the Sheriff’s Office gives an entirely different perspective on the matter implying that the Waldenville’s have not made any effort to resolve these problems;

“We would have preferred for any issues the Waldenville family had to at least contact us first so we could have sat down at the table and discussed specifics.” Link

The accounts given by Waldenville and the Sheriff’s Office are at odds here but the truth will come out.  Given the history of scandal that follows Sheriff John Whetsel,  I would put my money on Major Waldenville.

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.

The Database: Why Criminal Governments Spy On Citizens

The Database: Why Criminal Governments Spy On Citizens

By Brandon Smith

Posted Oct 6, 2011

At the very foundation of perhaps every modern day conflict between the expansive powers of unchecked bureaucracy and the dwindling freedoms of the ordinary citizen dwells the vital issue of privacy. Privacy and the right to hold personal and political views without being singled out and scrutinized by government is absolutely essential to any society which dares to deem itself “fair and just”. Ultimately, without the presence of these two liberties, and without people to defend them, a nation is ill equipped to circumvent the growth of tyranny, and anyone claiming to be “free” in the midst of such a culture is living a delusion of the highest order.

Often, social engineers attempt to direct debate over the issue of privacy towards rationalizations of relative morality, or artificially delineated priorities. We quibble over the level of government intrusion that should be tolerated for the sake of the “greater good”. We struggle with questions of bureaucratic reach, wondering at which point we should consider government a threat to the safety and liberty of the people, rather than a servant and protector. The dialogue always turns towards “how much” room government should be given to lumber about our personal lives. Rarely do we actually confront the idea that, perhaps, government should not be welcomed at all into such places.

Really, what makes a governmental entity so special that it should be allowed free access to the activities of the average citizen? Why should ANY intrusion of privacy be tolerated, let alone the kind that goes on today? Our most important concern is not how much leeway our government should be given to snoop into our pocket books, our medical records, our education, our political leanings, or our child rearing philosophies, but rather, whether or not they fulfill any purpose whatsoever through these actions. Is the government, as it exists now, even necessary, or does it cause only harm?

Under tyranny, privacy is usually the first right to be trampled in the name of public safety. Its destruction is incremental and its loss a victim of attrition in the wake of more immediate crisis. Disturbingly, many people become so fixated upon the threats of the moment that they lose complete track of the long term derailment of their own free will in progress. Government, no matter how corrupt, is seen as an inevitability. Conditioned by fear, desperation, insecurity, and sometimes greed, we begin to forget what it was like to live without prying eyes constantly over our shoulders. In the past decade alone, Americans have witnessed a substantial invasion of our individual privacy as well as a destabilization of the legal protections once designed to maintain it. Not just America, but most of the modern world has undergone a quiet program of surveillance and citizen cataloging that goes far beyond any sincere desire for “safety” and into the realm of technocratic domination.

Spying on U.S. citizens by a host of alphabet agencies has been going on for decades, but the actual cataloging of the public by government became most direct during WWII, which saw the use of the Census Bureau as a tool for collecting the names and residencies of Japanese Americans, as well as the highly illegal and unconstitutional internment of these innocents and their families:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=confirmed-the-us-census-b

The creation of lists designed to brand dissenters, activists, and even average passive persons has only become more prevalent since. From the McCarthy witch hunts (based on some real threats but skewed by McCarthy’s ignorance of the bigger picture), to the Cointelpro antics of the Vietnam era, government spying and cataloging has been a way of life and an expected prerequisite part of the relationship between citizenry and leadership. Though consistently opposed, surveillance has become ingrained into our social framework.

Read more

AMERICAN CITIZENS AS GUINEA PIGS

Kaye Beach

July 18, 2011

I have yet to read the entire series but from the first two installments, I’m impressed.  This is good information and extremely pertinent.


PART 1

By Kelleigh Nelson
June 20, 2010

It was probably about 1951 or 52 when I was just a little girl and was sitting at the kitchen table in our apartment in Chicago. My mom was reading the Chicago Tribune newspaper and often would read aloud to me as a child. I distinctly remember her reading an article to me that stated the federal government had sprayed a flu virus over the Rogers Park area of Chicago to see how the contamination worked on the population. It was a very small article in the back pages, and I remember my mother’s anger at reading it. I believe Americans have been experimented on for many, many decades, and I also believe it will get far worse with the coming Obamacare.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

In 1951 a 31 year old woman and mother of five by the name of Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer in Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Without her or her family’s permission, portions of her cancer cells were taken by her doctor prior to her treatment as well as after her death and during autopsy. Throughout our history, the poorer citizens, many of whom were black, were especially targeted for experimentation. Henrietta had two of the most virulent strains of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that cause cervical cancer. There are over 100 different strains affecting 90% of today’s sexually active population. Henrietta’s family did not learn of her cells being taken until over 20 years after her death.

Unlike normal cells which are extremely difficult to grow, the cancer cells from Henrietta grew exponentially. They are called the HeLa cell line, the first two letters from the patient’s name were used for cell lines back then. Henrietta’s cells have helped to conquer various illnesses with new drugs, helped create the polio vaccine, uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effect and have been bought and sold by the billions. There are so many of them now that they would wrap around the earth three times. They also easily contaminate other cell lines so their use is now in a sterile and controlled environment.

Henrietta’s family has never received one dime from any laboratory or Johns Hopkins in all the years since her death despite the fact that her cells were taken without the family’s knowledge. There are still no laws on the books stating that any piece of your body that is removed cannot be used without your express permission. Today, labs sell countless biopsies for various uses in cell line cultures.

Back in 1954, Dr. Chester Southam, a cancer researcher and chief of virology at Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute had a frightening thought. What if the researchers working with HeLa cells could be infected? He and many other scientists believed that cancer was caused by either a virus or an immune system deficiency, so Southam decided to use HeLa to test those theories.

He loaded a syringe with saline solution mixed with HeLa. He injected millions of HeLa cells into the forearm of a leukemia patient telling her he was testing her immune system. Within a short period of time, nodules like Henrietta’s showed on the arm. He removed them. He injected several other patients who had cancers to see whether or not their own immune system would fight them off. In many cases they did, but in four they had to be removed but kept growing back, and in one they metastasized to her lymph nodes.

Southam continued injecting patients at Sloan-Kettering and James Ewing Hospitals. It wasn’t until three Jewish doctors refused to do Southam’s protocols, citing the Nuremburg code, that the experiments were halted. In the ensuing media mess and trial, Southam nearly lost his medical license, and the wars about patient consent began.

Southam went on to solicit prisoners in Ohio State Penitentiary in order to inject healthy patients with HeLa. As Rebecca Skloot, the author of, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” states, his tactics reminded her of Dr. Josef Mengele, the notorious “Angel of Death,” in Nazi Germany who conducted horrid experiments on prisoners and especially twins.

Read more

Part II The Polio Vaccine Contamination with SV-40

Find the rest of the series and other articles by Kelleigh Nelson here


Oklahoma Schools: Data Collecting or Dossier Building?

States mismanage student information, study concludes

The Washington Post reports, citing a Fordham Law report “Children’s Educational Records and Privacy” in Oct. 2009

Collection systems for education appear vast and vulnerable

States often collect far more information about students than necessary and fail to take adequate steps to protect their privacy, a national study concludes. The dossiers go far beyond test scores, including Social Security numbers, poverty data, health information and disciplinary incidents.

. . .The movement toward statewide databases with unique student identifiers, rooted in the standards-and-testing movement of the 1990s, has grown significantly in this decade under the federal No Child Left Behind law and is getting a fresh push this year from the Obama administration. Federal officials want to link student test scores to teacher files to help evaluate instruction. They also envision systems that track students from pre-kindergarten through college, to help raise college completion rates.

Read More

From the Fordham Report;

Among state departments of education there has been a growing trend to establish statewide longitudinal databases of all K-12 children within a state in order to track students’ progress and change over time. This trend is accompanied by a movement to create uniform data collection systems so that each state’s student data systems are interoperable with one another. These two trends raised privacy concerns that we examine in this study.

. . .. Specifically, our goal was to investigate what type of data was being collected and whether children were protected legally and technically from data misuse, improper data release, and data breaches. Second, we were concerned with the ease with which individual interoperable state data systems could potentially be combined to create a national database of all K-12 children. (Emphasis mine)

Read the report

I share these concerns.  Unfortunately Fordham was unable to get much information on Oklahoma’s school data systems or practices but from a minor bit of digging on the subject, I do find some reason for Oklahoma parents to be asking some questions.

For instance;

in 2005;

Oklahoma Deploys the Nation’s First Fully Implemented Statewide SIF-Based Data Collection Model

and in 2010;

Oklahoma Receives First Ever SIF Award Public Schools

SIF means Schools Interoperability Framework

SIF is an interoperability framework that enables  the exchange of information between diverse data systems.  Oklahoma is the first state to deploy SIF. How did we manage that?

We are also  the first state to mandate compliance by law.

So, What sort of information is being collected and shared on students?

Broadly, the data collected on students  includes their

  • directory
  • demographic
  • disciplinary
  • academic
  • health, and
  • family information

Those categories pretty much cover, well, just about everything and the SIF standards are internationally benchmarked.

Oklahoma is an active participant in the Common Core Standards Initiative, a consortium of 48 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia. The Initiative is coordinated by the National Governors Association and the Council for Chief State School Officers. The standards that are being developed will be internationally benchmarked

From Race to the Top
Technical Review Form – Tier 1
Oklahoma Application #5280-0K-1

Read More about international benchmarks

But wait, there’s more;

“at least 32% of the states warehouse children’s social security numbers, at least 22% of the states record children’s pregnancies, at least 46% of the states track mental health, illness, and jail sentences as part of the children’s educational records, and almost all states with known programs collect family wealth indicators.” says the Fordham report

The  report states that “most states collected information in excess of what is needed for the reporting requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act and what appeared needed to evaluate overall school progress”

Why?

Why would most states do this.  Seems like this would be just more work for them. School administrators and teachers already have their hands full.  If most states are collecting all of this excess data, you can bet there is a reason for it and it probably has something to do with funding.

“Oklahoma’s student information system, The Wave, is regarded as a state-of-the-art, real-time electronic system unlike any other state’s in the nation for student reporting and accountability efforts.”

In the May 2010 press release announcing Oklahoma’s award for its student information system, Sandy Garrett, Oklahoma School Superintendent remarks;

“This system was not developed overnight. We were diligent in taking the steps to make it sound, secure and reliable, and to ensure it was a platform that wouldn’t become out-of-date, but rather provide infrastructure for the inevitable advances in data collection and reporting.”

If you have followed my blogging even casually you will know that I am extremely opposed to the  intrusive and ever increasing levels of surveillance being directed upon law abiding people and that state Fusion Centers are a major focus for me.

“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

Our schools and Fusion Centers both use Data Mining and Predictive Analytics, although for (somewhat) different purposes.

Predictive Analytics data and text mining, data collection and statistics software enables law enforcement agencies to anticipate criminal behavior by quickly analyzing massive amounts of incident data – along with current and developing conditions, such as weather, time of day, city events or even paydays – to ensure the safety of citizens and officers.

Read More

Fusion Centers incorporate a vast array of sources for information collection including law enforcement, public safety, transportation, education, health, agriculture and the private sector

My interest in what is going on in our public education system is directly tied to my concern about the Fusion Centers and I’ll tell you why.  Because any and all information is being fed to them.  Public schools are no exception.    In fact, it is the tying of information that is the source of the problem.  One database holding information is not what bothers me, it is the fact that these systems are being merged.

Read More

I have much more that I will be  sharing with you about this issue but I think it is important enough to try and lay a firm  foundation before I do.  To this end, I will be having an expert on education & privacy law who will catch us up on the  on the history and development of school information collecting on my radio show, AxXiom for Liberty, this Friday evening.

The expert is Beverly K.  Eakman and here is a short list of her credentials.

Beverly Eakman was an Educator, 9 years and a Science & Technical Writer/Editor-in-Chief of NASA’s official newspaper.  She was the Chief speechwriter for: Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and a writer: U.S. Dept. of Justice from 1991-2004. She is also the author of several books on education policy including the recently released, Walking Targets and has written many feature-length articles: Education Week, Chronicles Magazine, The Washington Times, Insight Magazine, National Review, The New American, Crisis Magazine, The Washington Post and served as the Executive Director of the  National Education Consortium from 1994-2006.

I will be posting some of Beverly Eakman’s work between now and Friday and I hope that you will join me Friday at 6pm CST to find out more about what is happening in our schools and what we can do about it.

AxXiom for Liberty is heard in 18 different states around the nation on AM and FM stations.  It can also be heard live over the internet every friday at Rule of Law Radio. http://www.ruleoflawradio.com

If you would like to call in with a question or comment, the number is 512-646-1984.

Envisioning the future of the CODIS DNA database. Do you like what you see America?

Relevant:

DNA Collection Upon Arrest, HB 2751, Passes Okla. House 72 to 23

Privacy and Consumer Profiling EPIC.ORG

EPIC.ORG

Privacy and Consumer Profiling

Introduction

Profiling is the recording and classification of behaviors. This occurs through aggregating information from online and offline purchase data, supermarket savings cards, white pages, surveys, sweepstakes and contest entries, financial records, property records, U.S. Census records, motor vehicle data, automatic number information, credit card transactions, phone records (Customer Proprietary Network Information or “CPNI”), credit records, product warranty cards, the sale of magazine and catalog subscriptions, and public records. Profiling has sparked an entire industry euphemistically labeled “Customer Relations Management” (CRM) or “Personalization.”

Companies collect information derived from a number of resources to build comprehensive profiles on individuals in order to sell products and to sell dossiers on behavior. This is often done without notice or extending a choice to the individual to opt-out of the dossier building. These dossiers may be used by marketers for target advertising, and they may be sold to government for law enforcement purposes. Companies also “enhance” dossiers that they already own by combining or “overlaying” information from other databases. These dossiers may link individual’s identities to the following attributes:

  • Social Security Number
  • Shopping preferences
  • Health information, including diet type, allergies, arthritis, incontinence/bladder problems, diabetes, hearing loss, prostate problems, and visual impairment, birth defects
  • Marital status
  • Financial situation (solvency, creditworthiness, loan amounts, credit cards)
  • Date of Birth
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Household income
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Geography
  • Physical characteristics, such as height and weight
  • Household occupants (whether an individual has children)
  • Telephone number
  • Utility usage (electric or gas usage, telephone usage, cable or satellite usage, Internet subscription, celluar phone usage)
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Occupation
  • Level of education
  • Whether an individual is likely to respond to “money-making opportunities”
  • Congressional district
  • Size of clothes worn
  • Habits (smoking)
  • Arrest records
  • Lifestyle preferences
  • Hobbies (whether and what the individual collects)
  • Religion (affiliation and denomination)
  • Homeownership
  • Characteristics of residence (size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, sale price, rent and mortgage payments)
  • Type of automobile owned
  • Characteristics of automobile owned (year, make, value, fuel type, number of cylinders, presence of vanity or special membership plates)
  • Whether the individual responds to direct mail solicitations
  • Contributions to political, religious, and charitable groups
  • Membership in book, video, tape, and compact disk clubs
  • Mail order purchases and type
  • Product ownership (beeper, contact lenses, electronics, fitness equipment, recreational equipment)
  • Pet ownership and type
  • Interests (including gambling, arts, antiques, astrology)
  • Book preferences
  • Music preferences
  • “Socialites”

These profiles are also indexed by other factors, such as wealth. For instance, American List Counsel sells an “ultra affluent database” that is overlaid with information on age, sex, and presence of children. The database includes the individuals’ home phone numbers. Many of the “affluent persons” databases are mined from public record filings (Security and Exchange Commission, State Corporations Registration lists) where individuals are compelled by law to reveal their personal information.

Profiling companies have well-developed lexicons to classify individuals. Claritas, for instance, divides individuals into fifteen different groups, which are in turn categorized into various subgroups. These include:

  • “Elite Suburbs” (Blue Blood Estates, Winner’s Circle, Executive Suites, Pools & Patios, Kids & Cul-de-Sacs).
  • “Urban Uptown” (Urban Gold Coast, Money & Brains, Young Literati, American Dreams, Bohemian Mix).
  • “2nd City Society” (Second City Elite, Upward Bound, Gray Power).
  • “Landed Gentry” (Country Squires, God’s Country, Big Fish Small Pond, Greenbelt Families).
  • “Affluentials” (Young Influentials, New Empty Nests, Boomers & Babies, Suburban Sprawl, Blue-Chip Blues)
  • “Inner Suburbs” (Upstarts & Seniors, New Beginnings, Mobility Blues, Gray Collars).
  • “Urban Midscale” (Urban Achievers, Big City Blend, Old Yankee Rows, Mid-City Mix, Latino America).
  • “2nd City Center” (Middleburg Managers, Boomtown Singles, Starter Families, Sunset City Blues, Towns & Gowns).
  • “Exurban Blues” (New Homesteaders, Middle America, Red White and Blues, Military Quarters).
  • “Country Families” (Big Sky Families, New Eco-topia, River City USA, Shotguns and Pickups).
  • “Urban Cores” (Single City Blues, Hispanic Mix, Inner Cities).
  • “2nd City Blues” (Smalltown Downtown, Hometown Retired, Family Scramble, Southside City).
  • “Working Towns” (Golden Ponds, Rural Industria, Norma Rae-ville, Mines and Mills).
  • “Heartlanders” (Agri-Business, Grain Belt).
  • “Rustic Living” (Blue Highways, Rustic Elders, Back Country Folks, Scrub Pine Flats, Hard Scrabble).

These profiles can be purchased at surprisingly low prices. Many companies will sell information at a cost of $65 per thousand names.

Profilers prefer “complied lists”–databases generated from white pages, directories, public records, and membership lists to “response lists.” Response lists are generated from catalog sales and other methods where the consumer responds to a solicitation. Compiled lists are more lucrative for profilers because they can overlay data with lifestyle behavior and engage in telemarketing without the consumer’s permission.

In the process of aggregating profiles, any number of persons may acquire the information of another. In fact, one of the largest commercial profilers, Metromail (now owned by Experian), used prisoners to enter personal information from surveys into computers. This resulted in a stalking case where a prisoner harassed a woman based on information she submitted on a survey. The woman received mail from a convicted rapist and burglar who knew everything about her–including her preferences for bath soap and magazines. In fact, Metromail maintained a voluminous amount of data on the woman. Metromail had twenty-five pages of personal data on her, including her income, and information on when she had used hemorrhoid medicine.

The woman sued (Beverly Dennis, et al. v. Metromail, et al., No. 96-04451, Travis County, Texas.) and as a result of a class-action suit, Metromail may no longer use prisoners to process personal information. During litigation, Metromail claimed that they had not violated the woman’s privacy, that they had no duty to inform individuals that prisoners were processing their personal data, and that the data processed was not highly intimate or embarrassing.

Many of the profiles are bought and transmitted electronically over the Internet with little regard for the purposes for which the information will be ultimately used. In fact, to demonstrate the indiscriminate sale of personal information, in 1996 Kyra Phillips of the CBS affiliate KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, purchased personal information on 5,000 children from Metromail, which was owned by Donnelly Marketing. The reporter used the name Richard Allen Davis, who had confessed to the murder of Polly Klaas and was on trial for the crime, to purchase the children’s contact information.

Medical Profiling

No aspect of an individual’s private life is too sensitive to be categorized, compiled, and sold to others. For instance, the Medical Marketing Service sells lists of persons suffering from various ailments. These lists are cross-referenced with information regarding age, educational level, family dwelling size, gender, income, lifestyle, marital status, and presence of children. The list of ailments includes:

  • Allergy – Nasal
  • Allergies – Wheat
  • Alzheimerís (Incl. Adult Caregiver)
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Athletes Foot
  • Breast Cancer
  • Bronchitis
  • Cancer
  • Celiac – Sprue
  • Chewing and Swallowing Difficulties
  • Chronic Back Pain
  • Clinical Depression
  • Colon Cancer
  • Constipation
  • Contact Lenses
  • Crohns Disease
  • Dandruff
  • Dentures
  • Diabetes – All (also Type 1 and 2)
  • Dry/Flaky Skin
  • Eczema
  • Emphysema
  • Epilepsy
  • Frequent Chapped Lips
  • Frequent Cold Sores
  • Frequent Flu
  • Fungus Infections
  • Fungus Infect ñ Nail/Foot
  • GERD / Acid Reflux / Ulcers
  • Gingivitis
  • Glasses
  • Glaucoma
  • Hair Loss/Baldness
  • Headaches
  • Hearing Impaired/Hearing Aid
  • Heart Attack
  • Heartburn/Acid Indigestion
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Impotence/ED
  • Incontinence- Urine
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Low Protein Disorder
  • Lyme Disease
  • Menopause
  • Menstrual Cramps
  • Migraines
  • Motion Sickness
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Parkinsonís Disease
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Rosacea
  • Sensitive Teeth
  • Shingles
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Ulcers
  • Use Wheelchair
  • Yeast Infection

Accuracy of the Profiles

There are serious problems with the accuracy of profiling data. Self-reported data, such as information solicited on product warranty cards, tends to be exaggerated. Individuals tend to report higher salaries then the actually earn and indicate interests in which they may not actually participate. Other profiling information, such as data mined from public records, may be linked to the incorrect person. For instance, in April 2001, former Privacy Foundation CTO Richard Smith requested his ChoicePoint dossier and concluded that the file contained “more misinformation than correct information.”

Who is Behind Profiling?

The profiling industry group, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), is the primary apologist for this dossier building. The group lobbies extensively against privacy rights that would limit the ability of entities to collect and exploit individuals’ data.

The group has staved off legislation by concocting self-regulatory opt-out lists for individuals who wish to limit the amount of commercial solicitations they receive. For instance, the DMA operates the Mail, Telephone, and E-Mail preference services. Individuals can submit their names and contact information to these services to avoid direct mail and other solicitations. However, the DMA charges for this service on both ends: First, the marketer much purchase the preference services for a fee in order to determine who has opted-out. Second, if an individual wishes to opt-out via the preference services, the individual must by a $5 fee and send their credit card number to the DMA. (These services are free for those who send their contact information to the DMA by postal mail.) And, after an individual goes through the trouble of opting-out, the DMA will remove the individual from the list automatically after 5 years.

Catalog sales companies and magazines sold profiling data for many years before the advent of online tracking and profiling. This data is often keyed to specific information about the subscriber or purchaser.

Experian is one of the prime providers of cooperative database information provided from catalog and magazine sales. These include:

  • Z-24SM Catalog Database “It’s a fact: Recent buying activity predicts future purchase behavior. Experian’s fast growing Z-24 consortium database delivers proven buyers like no other source. Z-24 includes more than 590 leading catalog titles with over 600 million transactions from 65 million households. We add demographic and lifestyle data from the INSOURCE enhancement database along with product affinity scores to further increase selection and selectivity.”
  • CircBaseSM “What we read says a lot about who we are. This cooperative database features the readership activities of more than 90 million individuals covering almost 274 publications.”

The Direct Media List Showcase has a searchable index of many profiling datacards from catalog and magazine purchases online. These include:

  • Lists of Catholics who subscribe to Newsweek Magazine: “NEWSWEEK HAS IDENTIFIED THE CATHOLIC SUBSCRIBERS WITH INFOBASE LIFESTYLE AND DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION. NEWSWEEK CATHOLIC SUBSCRIBERS NOT ONLY RESPOND TO CATHOLIC APPEALS BUT TO A VARIETY OF OTHER FUNDRAISING AND NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS DEDICATED TO HUMANITARIAN, CULTURAL AND HEALTH CAUSES.”
  • Lists of Catholics who make charitable donations: “CATHOLIC DONORS TO RELIGIOUS APPEALS NOW YOU CAN REACH CONCERNED, GIVING CATHOLIC DONORS WITH THIS BRAND NEW FILE. THESE DONORS HAVE MADE CONTRIBUTIONS TO SEVERAL DIFFERENT CATHOLIC ORGANIZATIONS, AND WILL BE VERY RESPONSIVE TO TRADITIONAL CATHOLIC APPEALS.”
  • Dr. Leonard’s Healthcare Lifelines lists: “THE DR. LEONARD’S HEALTHCARE FILE HAS BEEN OVERLAYED WITH DATA TO IDENTIFY THE ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS BACKGROUNDS OF THEIR CUSTOMERS. THESE MATURE BUYERS ARE RESPONSIVE MAIL ORDER BUYERS WHO PURCHASE HIGH QUALITY, ATTRACTIVELY PRICED PRODUCTS TO ENHANCE THEIR LIVES. PRODUCT LINE INCLUDES HEALTH CARE, PAIN RELIEF, PERSONAL CARE AND HOME ACCESSORIES.”
  • Lists of adults interested in consumer magazines: “PRIME TIME FROM HEARST MAGAZINES ARE AGE 55+ WHO SUBSCRIBE TO AT LEAST ONE OF HEARST’S 12 PUBLICATIONS. THESE ACTIVE SENIOR CITIZENS ARE INTERESTED IN READING, COOKING, CRAFTS, GARDENING, HOME DECORATING, AND TRAVEL.”

Dunhill International Lists is one of the principal telemarketing and direct marketing companies. It offers lists on:

  • Affluent America: “This is the most comprehensive database of millionaires, multi-millionaires and billionaires and their wealthiest neighbors available anywhere. The Dunhill Affluent America file represents the top 5% of American Families. The total count is over 100% greater than any other wealthy file and is viewed as the most complete database of it’s kind. These are the “cream of the crop.”
  • Sub-Prime Auto Loan Applicants: “reach currently active high interest rate credit users. Many have had their loan applications (auto, home, credit card) rejected due to a poor credit history or have no credit history. These individuals are in dire need of credit. They face the challenge of everyday finances. They are looking to re-establish and rehabilitate their credit. They could not qualify for a conventional loan and therefore financed an automobile with a sub-prime auto lender.”
  • Opinion Molders Database: “Effective Mailing Lists to Reach ìInfluentialsî in Media, Government, Business, Religion, Education, Medicine, Environment and more!”

For more lists, see Direct Media’s List Showcase, Direct Marketing News’ List Directory, and Dunhill’s International Lists.

The National Change of Address Service (NCOA) and the Locatable Address Conversion System (LACS)

The National Change of Address Service (NCOA) is administered by the U.S. Postal Service. Groups that subscribe to the NCOA can obtain updates when a current customer makes a permanent change of address request to the Postal Service. This is the one of the primary methods by which companies obtain individuals’ addresses after they move. Businesses can purchase the updates for as little as $5 per thousand names.

One can evade the NCOA by making a “temporary” change of address order. Temporary changes of address are not reported to the NCOA service, and thus are not forwarded to businesses that are attempting to continue sending junk mail. Temporary orders give individuals the ability to forward mail to a new address for a full year.

A similar service used by profilers is the Locatable Address Conversion System (LACS). The LACS is a list of persons who live in rural areas whose addresses have been standardized as a result of development and the deployment of government services. There are over four million addresses in the LACS.

Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI)

Telecommunications companies that provide local, long distance, and wireless services collect CPNI based on individuals’ telephone calling behaviors. CPNI includes subscribers’ names, addresses, services, amount of usage of services, and calling records. “Calling records” are lists of phone numbers that the subscriber receives calls from or dials. Most people consider CPNI private, and under a 1996 telecommunications law, companies must first gain permission from the subscriber (opt-in) before using CPNI for marketing. However, telecommunications companies have challenged the interpretation of that law, and seek to sell CPNI and allow marketing and profiling based on individuals’ calling behaviors with only opt-out protections.

In November 2001, EPIC filed comments joined by seventeen other organizations in support of opt-in protections for CPNI. In addition, the National Association of Attorneys General filed comments joined by thirty-nine states in support of opt-in provisions for CPNI.

Student Profiling

Selling personal information on students and children is big business. See EPIC’s Student Privacy Page for more information about student profiling. See EPIC’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Page for information about online marketing to children.

Supermarket “Club” or “Loyalty” Cards and Retail Surveillance

Many supermarkets are offering membership cards that grant discounts to consumers. What often goes unmentioned is that these club cards enable the store to create detailed profiles of individuals’ consumption habits. These profiles are linked to individually-identifiable information, often with the requirement at enrollment that the consumer show state-issued identification. Since many supermarkets sell more than just food (alcohol, cigarettes, pharmaceuticals, etc), the companies can collect volumes of information about individuals’ habits.

The danger in this profiling is increased by the fact that supermarkets are not limited by law in sharing the information they collect. A supermarket can sell the information to a health insurance company or to other aggregators in order to make a more complete profile on an individual.

The risks of profiling based on consumption are often derided by supermarket profilers. They may say that “no one cares if you like asparagus more than broccoli.” But, that’s not the issue. Individuals have different definitions of sensitive information. And the profilers aren’t interested in whether you’re buying one vegetable over another. They are more likely to want to know whether an individuals is buying baby diapers or adult diapers (Experian offers a database of persons who are incontinent).

Supermarket profiles can be used against consumers. For instance, Von’s Supermarket of California sought to introduce “loyalty card” records in a court case where a consumer had slipped and injured himself in the store. Von’s wished to prove that the customer may have been alcohol impaired, and that his loyalty card would show numerous purchases of alcohol. The evidence was ultimately never introduced.

In 1997, the Drug Enforcement Administration subpoenaed data from the customer database at Smith’s Foods. The DEA sought to discover whether a group of individuals were buying a suspicious amount of plastic baggies.

A January 2003 article in the Wall Street Journal confirmed that anti-card activists at Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN) have argued for years: supermarket shopping cards do not result in savings: “We found that, most likely, you are saving no money at all. In fact, if you are shopping at a store using a card, you may be spending more money than you would down the street at a grocery store that doesn’t have a discount card.”

Credit Reporting Agencies and the Credit “Header”

The three major credit reporting agencies (CRAs), Equifax (formerly Retail Credit Inc.), Trans Union, and Experian (formerly TRW), sell credit “header” information for profiling purposes. The credit header is information that appears “above the line” of a credit report. This information includes name, address, phone number, social security number, date of birth, and previous address. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), allows the unregulated sale of credit headers. Individuals cannot opt-out of the credit header sales.

Product Warranty Cards: A Deceptive Information Collection Practice

Expensive items such as electronics and appliances are likely to come with “product warranty cards.” Often, these warranty cards solicit information from the consumer that is wholly unrelated to the purchase (income information, number of persons in the household, ages, interests, hobbies, ailments, etc). The wording of the warranty cards as well as the lack of privacy policies suggest to the consumer that they must provide this information in order to register the product. This is not the case. Individuals do not need to provide the personal information requested on product warranty cards. One only needs to keep the receipt of purchase and the card in order to secure the warranty.

Many people do not fill out product warranty cards because they know the information provided will be used for profiling. This has resulted in difficulty in issuing product recalls for unsafe items. The Consumer Federation of America has petitioned the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to develop a privacy-friendly warranty card for children’s products.

Private-Public Profiling Partnerships

There are federal and state legal restrictions that prevent the government from building dossiers on individuals without cause. However, these protections do not prevent the private sector from building comprehensive profiles on individuals. The government can then purchase this information from the private sector. Several companies, including Experian and ChoicePoint, possess multi-million dollar contracts with the federal government to sell personal information to law enforcement. Profiling partnerships generally rely on the compilation of public records, and are covered in more detail on the EPIC Public Records and Privacy Web Page.

In April 2002, private-sector profilers met to discuss how they could compile consumer information for terrorist risk profiling. That meeting, organized by the Center for Information Policy Leadership (CIPL), was attended by a number of companies that are attempting to sell their marketing products for anti-terrorism purposes.

Automatic Number Identification (ANI)

Automatic Number Identification (ANI) is similar to Caller ID (CID). ANI reveals the name, address, and phone number of the telephone subscriber when the line is used to call a toll-free (800, 888), charge (900, 976), or police phone number (911).

Unlike CID, a caller cannot block ANI. Businesses use ANI to collect information from callers. The ANI can automatically return the customers’ profile from a database. Other phone services, such as Automatic Call Distribution can then assign the caller to a certain priority or level of service based on their profile. ANI and related services can also be used to block a customer’s call.

ANI is sometimes used for security purposes, such as the identification or authentication of a caller to a bank or insurance company. However, ANI can be used for secondary purposes such as marketing and profiling. In fact, when ANI was first developed, the subscriber information was not transmitted beyond the central office, except for calls to 911 and law enforcement agencies. Now, any owner of a toll-free or charge number can collect ANI.

Casinos: The Biggest Profiler

Casinos are the biggest users of consumer profiling in any industry. In addition to traditional consumer profiling based on purchases and club membership cards, casinos use facial recognition and other technologies to identify customers. One casino reportedly has a full terabyte of personal information on its customers.

What You Can Do to Avoid profiling: Engage in Privacy Self-Defense

“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed,
debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.”
–The Prisoner

  • Wherever possible, minimize the amount of personal data given to commercial or governmental entities. Do not release contact information where it is unnecessary. Do not give out your Social Security Number unless it is related for tax purposes, such as employment or opening a bank account.
  • Read privacy policies. If you are uncomfortable with the collection, sharing, or use of information, tell the business that you’re going elsewhere because of the company’s privacy practices.
  • Opt-out from the Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs) pre-approved credit card offers. By calling 1-888-5OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688), you can stop most pre-approved credit card offers. However, you cannot opt-out from the sale of credit headers. Be sure to specify that you wish to be permanently removed from pre-approved credit card offers, otherwise you will be placed back on the recipient list in two years. To permanently opt-out, you will have to fill out a form that the CRA will mail to you.
  • Opt-out from information sharing. Many businesses share your personal information unless you opt-out. Be sure to call your bank, insurance company, and brokerage companies and request to opt-out. You should request to opt out from information sharing under the “Gramm-Leach-Bliley” Act and under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
  • Do not complete product warranty cards. Product warranty cards are a principal method of obtaining profiling data from consumers. If you wish to preserve your warranty, you do not need to send in the card. Simply keeping the warranty card and your receipt will suffice for warranty purposes. If you do wish to register a product in order to receive recall information, list only your contact information.
  • If you complete a U.S. Postal Service Change of Address Card, be sure to specify that you are requesting a “temporary” change of address. Temporary change of addresses are not included in the National Change of Address Service, and thus won’t find their way into profiling databases.
  • Be wary of catalog merchants. Tell them not to sell, rent, or share information about your purchase. Approximately 90% of mail order or catalog merchants will share your personal information–often with huge “cooperative databases.” Often, this data collected and shared goes beyond a consumer’s address. Catalog merchants will sell information relating to items purchased and details about those items. For instance, if you purchase clothes via mail order, the company may sell your dress, shirt, or pants size to cooperative databases.
  • Never purchase anything from a telemarketer-initiated call, an infomercial, or a direct mail solicitation. Individuals who respond to these forms of marketing are placed on special “responder” lists. Individuals recognized as “responders” are more likely to receive additional telemarketing and direct mail.

Stopping Junk Mail with Post Office Prohibitory Orders

Individuals may obtain a prohibitory order to stop junk mail from being sent to a residence. This order can be obtained through a law that prohibits the mailing of advertising materials “which the addressee in his sole discretion believes to be erotically arousing or sexually provocative.” Practically, this means that individuals can obtain a prohibitory order against any junk mail sender.

Individuals wishing to obtain a prohibitory order should visit their local post office for “Form 1500″ or click on the link provided below.

The Attorney General’s office no longer sues under this statute to obtain damages. However, individuals should still obtain prohibitory orders against junk mailers. By doing so, marketers who engage in saturation mailings (heavily-discounted mailings delivered to every residence in the area that are usually addressed with “Postal Customer” or “Resident”) must adjust their address lists so that the materials are no longer sent to the address with the prohibitory order. This results in higher costs to junk mailers.

  • Application for Listing and/or Prohibitory Order (Form 1500), United States Postal Inspection Service.
  • 39 U.S.C. Sect. 3008, Prohibition of pandering advertisements.
  • Rowan v. U.S. Post Office, 397 U.S. 728 (1970). “In today’s complex society we are inescapably captive audiences for many purposes, but a sufficient measure of individual autonomy must survive to permit every householder to exercise control over unwanted mail…Today’s merchandising methods, the plethora of mass mailings subsidized by low postal rates, and the growth of the sale of large mailing lists as an industry in itself have changed the mailman from a carrier of primarily private communications, as he was in a more leisurely day, and have made him an adjunct of the mass mailer who sends unsolicited and often unwanted mail into every home. It places no strain on the doctrine of judicial notice to observe that whether measured by pieces or pounds, Everyman’s mail today is made up overwhelmingly of material he did not seek from persons he does not know. And all too often it is matter he finds offensive.”
  • Unsolicited Sexually Oriented Advertising, United States Postal Inspection Service.
  • Stop Unsolicited Sexually Oriented Advertising in Your Mail, United State Postal Inspection Service.
  • Postal Bulletin PB 21977, United State Postal Inspection Service, July 30, 1998. “The prohibitory order. This order aids in protecting customers from receiving pandering advertisements through the mail. An addressee may obtain a prohibitory order against the mailer of an advertisement that the addressee determines, in his or her sole discretion, to be offering matter for sale that is erotically arousing or sexually provocative, as defined in title 39, United States Code, 3008. Postmasters may not refuse to accept a Form 1500 because the advertisement in question does not appear to be sexually oriented. Only the addressee may make that determination. The order prohibits the mailer from sending any further mail to the applicant (and his or her eligible minor children included in the application), effective on the 30th calendar day after the mailer receives the order.”
  • U.S. Laws on Direct Mail, Junkbusters.

News

Resources

Cases

Profilers have argued in court that restrictions on how personal information is used violates the First Amendment. These companies believe that privacy protection prohibits “others from talking about you.” This First Amendment argument fails to recognize that US law affords fewer protections to commercial speech, expression that merely proposes a sales transaction. Courts have rejected the argument that marketing should enjoy the same protections as core political expression.

  • Trans Union v. FTC, No. 00-1141 (D.C. Cir. 2001), cert. denied, 536 U. S. ____ (2002) . In Trans Union, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that tradelines (credit information that includes name, address, date of birth, telephone number, Social Security number, account type, opening date of account, credit limit, account status, and payment history) could not be sold for marketing purposes because they constituted a credit report for purposes of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Further, the Court rejected the profiler’s claim that the First and Fifth Amendments invalidated the FCRA.
  • IRSG v. FTC, 145 F. Supp. 2d 6, No. 00-1828 (D.D.C. 2001)(PDF 1.9 MB). In IRSG, the District Court for the District of Columbia upheld FTC regulations that required information brokers to give notice and an opportunity to opt-out to individuals before selling credit header information (name, address, Social Security number). On summary judgment, the Court rejected IRSG’s First and Fifth Amendment claims. This decision was affirmed in Trans Union v. FTC, No. 01-5202 (D.C. Cir. 2002).
  • Trans Union v. FTC, 81 F.3d 228 (D.C. Cir. 1996)(“Trans Union I”). In Trans Union I, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that the sale of consumer credit reports for marketing purposes violated the FCRA.
  • Dun & Bradstreet v. Greenmoss Builders, 472 U.S. 749 (1985). In Dun & Bradstreet, the Supreme Court held that consumer credit reports concern no public issue, and thus receive reduced Constitutional protection.

Profiling Companies and Technologies

Oklahoma-Hundreds of Medical Records Found in Dumpster

Meg Alexander of KFOR in Oklahoma reports that hundreds of medical files containing Social Security number and medical records from the office of from Dr. David Cavallaro, a podiatrist, were found in a dumpster.

Oklahoma reportedly has no law governing disposal of medical files.

Now if there was a national data protection law that required proper disposal of paper records containing PII/PHI, that might help. Unfortunately, H.R. 2221 does not cover paper records and only calls for a study on expanding protection to paper records.

http://www.databreaches.net/?p=4386