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Web Stalkers
Chapter 1 -
The Illusion of Anonymity

Finding Private Medical Information

When the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) was passed into law, one goal was to reduce the unauthorized sharing of private patient information.  The penalties for unauthorized disclosure of what the act calls “individually identifiable information” are severe.  An individual can be punished by fines of up to $250,000 US Dollars and up to 10 years in prison.

The Medical Information Bureau Group, Inc. is a medical information clearinghouse.  MIB is an association of over 500 U.S. and Canadian life insurance companies that provide information and database management services to the financial services industry.  MIB was created to help ensure the accuracy of the information provided to the underwriters of life, health, disability and long term care policies.

MIB will also make an individual’s personal information available for a small fee.  There is no charge if the information has already been released to an insurance company and has resulted in adverse action, such as declining to write an insurance policy or a rate increase.  When a person requests a copy of their records, MIB will provide the following information:

  • Nature and substance of information compiled.
     

  • Name of member companies that provided information.
     

  • Name of member companies that received information in the previous 12 months.

More information about MIB can be found at the following web site, www.mib.com/html/consumer.html.

Programs such as NetDetective offer to provide information about tens of millions of people from the United States and Canada.  These services may provide detailed information regarding military service, driving records, vehicle histories, and medical records.  While these types of information services provide a legitimate product to many reputable companies, there are questions about the proper use of this personal information.  The law is clear regarding how this information can be used, what can be considered in what circumstance, and so on.  However, the law does not guarantee compliance and the potential for abuse or at least misuse is very high.


The above text is an excerpt from:

Web Stalkers
Protect yourself from Internet Criminals & Psychopaths
ISBN 0-97-45993-9-5

by Donald K. Burleson, Stephen Andert
 

http://www.rampant-books.com/book_2004_2_stalkers.htm


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