Archive for the Category » privacy «

May 26th, 2010 | Author:

from CNSNews.com:

A bill introduced this month in Congress would put the federal and state governments in the business of tracking how fat, or skinny, American children are.

States receiving federal grants provided for in the bill would be required to annually track the Body Mass Index of all children ages 2 through 18. The grant-receiving states would be required to mandate that all health care providers in the state determine the Body Mass Index of all their patients in the 2-to-18 age bracket and then report that information to the state government. The state government, in turn, would be required to report the information to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for analysis.

The Healthy Choices Act–introduced by Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee–would establish and fund a wide range of programs and regulations aimed at reducing obesity rates by such means as putting nutritional labels on the front of food products, subsidizing businesses that provide fresh fruits and vegetables, and collecting BMI measurements of patients and counseling those that are overweight or obese.

Section 101 of the bill amends the Public Health Services Act by stating that health care providers must record the Body Mass Index of all children ages 2 through 18.  “The provision relates to all children in states that accept grants under the bill,” a spokesperson for Rep. Kind told CNSNews.com. “However, it is important to note that no one is forced to come in for a doctor’s visit to get their BMI tested.  BMI will be taken at times when the child makes an otherwise scheduled doctor’s visit.”

BMI is calculated by taking one’s weight in pounds and height in inches, multiplying that number by one’s height in inches and then multiplying that number by 703. Any number over 24 is considered overweight, with higher numbers resulting in a diagnosis of obese (BMI = [weight / (height x height)] x 703).

To pay for implementing BMI data gathering, Sec. 102 of the bill states that the federal government will give grants to states that meet certain criteria, including having “the capacity to store basic demographic information (including date of birth, gender and geographic area of residence), height, weight, and immunization data for each resident of the state.”

The grants also will pay for personnel and equipment necessary to measure patients’ BMI.

The grants also require that if a child’s BMI is greater than the 95th percentile for the child’s age and gender, the state will provide “information on how to lower BMI and information on state and local obesity prevention programs.”

Read the rest here if you can stand it.  Me?  I’m gonna raid the fridge.

Share
May 14th, 2010 | Author:

Even CNN is writing about privacy issues associated with Facebook.  Some prominent folks are deleting their Facebook pages in protest.  I never used it much and deleted my account months ago for the same reasons, but for those of you asking, “But how would I stay in touch?” there are some new options:

Clique – privacy enhanced Social Network Site

Decentralize the web with Diaspora

This is not so much an endorsement of these particular projects – although I think they’re on the right track and I’d encourage you to check them out – as it is an endorsement of the free market.

People complain about Facebook and – Boom! – up step some folks offering alternatives.

Ya’ gotta love it.

Update: Even Homeland Security is warning about the risks of social networking sites:

RISK RATING:  High

The popularity of social networking sites continues to increase, especially among teenagers and young adults.

The nature of these sites introduces security risks, so you should take certain precautions.

How to protect yourself now link

Social networking sites rely on connections and communication, so they encourage you to provide a certain amount of personal information. When deciding how much information to reveal, people may not exercise the same amount of caution as they would when meeting someone in person because

  • the internet provides a sense of anonymity
  • the lack of physical interaction provides a false sense of security
  • they tailor the information for their friends to read, forgetting that others may see it
  • they want to offer insights to impress potential friends or associates

While the majority of people using these sites do not pose a threat, malicious people may be drawn to them because of the accessibility and amount of personal information that’s available. The more information malicious people have about you, the easier it is for them to take advantage of you. Predators may form relationships online and then convince unsuspecting individuals to meet them in person. That could lead to a dangerous situation. The personal information can also be used to conduct a social engineering attack . Using information that you provide about your location, hobbies, interests, and friends, a malicious person could impersonate a trusted friend or convince you that they have the authority to access other personal or financial data.

Additionally, because of the popularity of these sites, attackers may use them to distribute malicious code. Sites that offer applications developed by third parties are particularly susceptible. Attackers may be able to create customized applications that appear to be innocent while infecting your computer without your knowledge.

Hmm … haven’t I heard some Washington Chicken Littles warning about cyber security?  Is this a valid warning, or just another justification for taking over another industry?

Share
Category: abuse of power, Big Brother, economics, privacy  | Comments off