Friday, April 13, 2018
This Seems To Me To Be A Bit Of Health Data Exploitation Overreach – To Say The Least!
This appeared a little while ago and really amazed me…..
Government is 'running too fast,' warns one critic
25 March 2018, 5:57 pm 4
The Israeli government on Sunday approved a National Digital Health plan, which, despite mounting privacy concerns, plans to create a digital database of the medical files of some 9 million residents and make them available to researchers and enterprises.
The government has vowed to protect the privacy of individuals and is touting the NIS 1 billion ($287 million) program as a huge boon to the medical research industry. But critics pointed to risks of a massive breach in patient confidentiality and urged the government to slow down.
To promote the initiative, Israel will unify the existing database of the digital medical records it has collected over a period of 20 years — which holds the medical files of more than 98 percent of the population — to create a single database, in which one’s participation is optional, that will help attract researchers and industry leaders from across the globe, the Prime Minister’s office said Sunday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu estimated the global digital health sector at some $6 trillion, calling the field “huge.” He speculated that Israel might be able to snag some 10% of this market potential, worth some $600 billion.
“I think this is a conservative estimate,” he said. “And if we succeed, just like we succeeded in cybersecurity and in autonomous cars,” then Israel can expect a significant boost of new products.
Israel has medical records of close to 9 million people collected over the past 20 years, Netanyahu said. “This is a huge asset,” he said. “We want to make this available to researchers and developers and enterprises.” The aim is to boost the development of preventive medications as well as personalized, custom-made treatments.
“Of course this depends on the consent of each and every person,” he said, adding that this new policy was a “global breakthrough,” and global companies have already expressed a huge interest in the initiative. “I’ve already met many of them. They all want to come here. Quite rightly, they see that this is a new direction.”
Details of the plan were released as the world grapples with concerns over the privacy infringement amid reports that UK’s Cambridge Analytica was able to tap into the profiles of more than 50 million Facebook users without their permission. Legislators in the US and Europe have criticized Facebook and said they want more information about what happened, with speculation that social media and other tech giants will face tighter regulation as a result.
With all the benefits the sharing of a joint database will yield for medical research and insights, the issue is “complicated,” warned Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, a senior fellow and head of the Democracy in the Information Age project at the Israel Democracy Institute.
“The Israeli government is running a little bit too fast. The case of Cambridge Analytica has shown us how sometimes you can use big data for different goals than originally planned, and sometimes that can be harmful. We need to look very carefully at this whole issue of opening up Israeli medical big data.”
I wonder will the data subjects be given access to their data along with researchers and enterprises.
Obviously one needs to see the detail but at first blush this seems like a little bit of strategic overreach.
Posted by Dr David G More MB PhD at Friday, April 13, 2018