Monthly Archive: April 2011

Pharma Security Woes: GlaxoSmithKline Customer Medical Info Exposed in Epsilon Breach

This article in the Wall Street Journal confirms that the Epsilon data breach goes far beyond simply exposing customer names and emails. Indeed, pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline has alerted customers via email that their email addresses and names have been compromised, and that the stolen information may have identified the product website on which they registered their medical conditions.

Privacy Myth or Privacy Truth? Librarians Promote ‘Privacy Week’ Events to Discuss Online Freedoms

Check out several myths about online privacy in a digital era courtesy of the American Library Association, an organization that hopes to get people up to speed on their rights in our Information Age. The ALA says our search behaviors can leave an identifying trail, so learn how you can get involved in the privacy conversation today.

Apple iPhone Doesn’t Track Location, Google Android Does, Says Steve Jobs

Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs claims the iPhone does not track user location. He instead casts the blame on Google, saying the search giant tracks those who have an Android phone. In an email exchange quoted in The Guardian, Jobs responds to a question about whether Google tracks users or not by saying, “Oh yes they do. We don’t track anyone. The info circulating around is false.”

medical records

Correcting Misinformation on Medical Records

Misinformation on medical records may be caused by human error or identity theft. It can lead to an inaccurate diagnosis of a condition and could be fatal if the information causes a drug interaction, allergic reaction or inappropriate diagnoses. You should be able to fully correct medical records created in your name. HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a federal privacy act that protects patients from unauthorized access to personal medical information and addresses the problem of errors in medical records.

133,000 Patient Names, Social Security Numbers, Test Results Exposed After Unencrypted Laptop Stolen

Approximately 133,000 patients in Oklahoma had their personal health information compromised after a laptop and 50 paper files were stolen from an employee’s car, according to The Oklahoman. The computer contained electronic health records that listed patients’ names, addresses; birth defect information; Social Security numbers; and test results. The article says “the Health Department requires data to be encrypted [but] that wasn’t done and the department is investigating whether the employee should be fired.”

White House Kicks Off Plans for Cyber IDs; Experts Question the Future of Online Anonymity

The White House has officially announced its plans to have the U.S. Commerce Department create an “identity ecosystem” that lets consumers use a unique personal ID to prove their identity when they’re carrying out sensitive transactions, like banking, but stay anonymous when they are not. However, some question whether a group whose purpose is to oversee how Americans buy, sell, and trade goods is the best choice for assigning these Internet IDs. This announcement came shortly after Senators John Kerry and John McCain introduced legislation that would establish a consumer privacy bill of rights (the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011).

Keep Baby’s Photo Off the Internet to Curb Child Identity Theft, Expert Warns

A local Florida news outlet quotes an official who urges parents to think twice before posting newborn photos or other sensitive family information on social media sites. Florida State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle said crooks simply need a baby’s name and birth date and could create a stolen identity to get credit and then commit more sophisticated crimes. Some of the tips shared in this article including limiting the photos you share online, avoiding school uniforms, not listing birth dates or specific locations, and avoiding backgrounds that are easily identified.


Report from the InfoSec World Conference: Game-Changing HTML5 Will Alter Browser Security

What’s HTML5? In this week’s post from CEO Kent Lawson, he says it could mean that every time you visit a website, you will be potentially ceding control of your laptop, tablet, or phone to someone else. Read on for more information about the future of website browsing security and what it means for our safety and security online.

Laptops, Mobile Devices Cited in ‘Overwhelming Number’ of Medical Data Breaches

A niche medical news site,, suggests that federal health IT officials should address the prevalence of health data breaches that result from “unencrypted data at rest,” such as information stored on laptops, mobile devices, and USB drives. An overwhelming number of breaches are caused by thefts or losses of this unencrypted data, according to government reports cited in the article.

‘When Gadgets Betray Us’ Explores the Dark Underbelly of Cybercrime, Identity Theft

This review on calls nonfiction book When Gadgets Betrays Us, written by security blogger Robert Vamosi, “a revealing look at the dark underbelly of our rapidly advancing electronics. This is not some Orwellian indictment of new technology, but instead a call for caution: Our gadgets are evolving faster than we can successfully secure them.” In other words, the devices you use to connect to the Internet are leaving you susceptible to hackers and cyber-criminals.

Medical Identity Theft Could Be Dangerous to Your Health

Nearly one and a half million U.S. consumers were victims of medical identity theft in 2010, according to a study by The Ponemon Institute. Even more shocking: Nine out of ten U.S. consumers know nothing about the crime. If you’re one of them, that could be dangerous to your health and your finances.