Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Microsoft wants your health records

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-10-15

From ZDNet 2007-10-05 comes the news that Microsoft wants to store all your health records in it’s new HealthVault.

This, from almost the least trustworthy company when it comes to consumer privacy!

For example, a retail computer vendor told me a couple of days ago that the new MS Windows Vista operating system, if you want automatic updates, chews up around 20% of your internet bandwidth receiving and sending information to and from Microsoft – with information on exactly what you are running, the habit of disable features of your system if Microsoft doesn’t like what you are running, a history of getting information on what software from competitors you run, and goodness knows what else.

Unlike Google, who told the US government to get lost or come back with a proper warrant that wasn’t fishing, Microsoft (and Yahoo) handed offer ALL search criteria from everybody, even without worrying about keywords.  (I could understand it if the were looking for searches such as "how to make a dirty bomb so I can blow up the White House").

Given the way Microsoft systems are hacked compared to other operating systems, it’s hard to trust this idea, both from the point of view of Microsoft’s repository, and the client machines that send or receive data from HealthVault.

It’s not just people accessing your information you need to worry about, hackers might edit your records so you receive inappropriate (and possibly) treatment, or merely by changing your prescription details.

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One Response to “Microsoft wants your health records”

  1. Dave Bath said

    Google is now interested in this sector as well. However much Google live up to their creed of "Don’t be evil", I think it desirable that only governments be custodians of such data – not that Australia’s competent (NEHTA is a mess).

    On the other hand, for grossly underdeveloped countries that haven’t a hope, perhaps Google.ORG, the philanthropic division of google.COM, might convince its parent to donate servers together with their excellent backup and security proceures, and place them inside governments.

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