Nanny Cams in Nursing Homes – Protection or Invasion of Privacy?

Imagine that your mother is in a long-term care facility. On your weekend visits, she’s told you that the nurses and aides there are taking things from her, pinching her and refusing to change her diapers when she soils them. You want to believe your mother, but you’ve been told that her nursing home is one of the best in the state. You also know that your mother has mild dementia and that when you gently raise the issue with …

Stay Safe in the Health Insurance Marketplaces

This week, the Obama administration announced a comprehensive, interagency initiative to fight fraud, prevent privacy violations, and protect consumers in the Health Insurance Marketplaces. AARP applauds this effort, and we encourage the administration to continue to take steps to protect and defend consumers from unscrupulous practices – especially people under the age of 65 who will soon be eligible to sign up for the marketplaces. Unfortunately, we know that there are scam artists who will try to take advantage of Americans as …

Could a Smartphone Save Your Life?

By Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio, Kaiser Health News It’s one of those unhappy holiday surprises — a visiting family member gets sick. That happened to Dr. Farzad Mostashari last Thanksgiving. “My dad comes downstairs and he has acute pain in his eye where he had cataract surgery. And I said, ‘What’s the matter, what’s the story?’” recalled Mostashari, who lives in Bethesda, Md. “And he said, ‘Well, I think they put the wrong lens in my eye, I’d gone …

Prepare your Facebook Security Settings for New Search

Facebook announced this week it will make it a lot easier to search your personal page along with all of your friends. It’s called the Facebook Graph Search. While this announcement does not change your privacy settings on Facebook, it means if you’ve ignored your privacy settings, now is a really good time to check it out. (Facebook wrote up more details about how privacy works with the new search.) Facebook says the graph search will take already existing information …

How Private Is Your Genetic Code? Less So Than You May Think

Anyone who’s watched more than a few episodes of Law & Order knows how easy it is to unwittingly get a sample of someone’s DNA — a discarded coffee cup, a used Kleenex, a few stray hairs and you’re good to go. In Dick Wolf’s world, such samples are used to catch the bad guys (or exonerate the good guys), but in real life, genetic code can reveal a variety of information, including what diseases may lurk in someone’s future. This type of genetic testing — known as whole genome sequencing — has many useful applications. But a report released today by the presidential bioethics commission reveals that many legal issues surrounding genetic privacy have yet to be addressed.

FTC Halts Rent-to-Own Computer Spying

This is a guest post by Sid Kirchheimer. The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday announced it settled a case with seven rent-to-own computer businesses and a software vendor accused of secretly installing software to spy on customers who rented those machines. The FTC says the installed software, licensed by Philadelphia-area DesignerWare LLC, captured screenshots of confidential and personal information, logged computer keystrokes and in some cases took webcam pictures of people in their homes – all without renters’ notice or consent. …