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Posts Tagged ‘privacy’

USA Spying On Everyone?

Friday, October 25th, 2013

The United States is being accused on spying on at least 35 world leaders. In addition, the U.S, is alleged to have spied on millions of French citizens. The accusations are a result of an article in the UK based newspaper The Guardian:

“The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another US government department, according to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The confidential memo reveals that the NSA encourages senior officials in its “customer” departments, such as the White House, State and the Pentagon, to share their “Rolodexes” so the agency can add the phone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems.

The document notes that one unnamed US official handed over 200 numbers, including those of the 35 world leaders, none of whom is named. These were immediately “tasked” for monitoring by the NSA.

The revelation is set to add to mounting diplomatic tensions between the US and its allies, after the German chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday accused the US of tapping her mobile phone.

After Merkel’s allegations became public, White House press secretary Jay Carney issued a statement that said the US “is not monitoring and will not monitor” the German chancellor’s communications. But that failed to quell the row, as officials in Berlin quickly pointed out that the US did not deny monitoring the phone in the past.”

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The Very Busy Politicians in Washington DC

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Texas Straight Talk – A weekly column
Rep. Ron Paul (R) – TX 14

With a faltering economy, multiple wars, and the approaching demise of the dollar’s reserve status, there are more than enough problems to keep politicians in Washington working day and night. In between handing out cash for clunkers and nationalizing healthcare, the administration is busy sending more troops overseas, escalating existing wars, and seeking out excuses to start new wars. Congress is working on “urgent” legislation to address crises like healthcare reform and climate change. The reforms are so very urgent that legislation must pass swiftly with no time to read the bills even though the new laws wouldn’t take effect for several years! Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is busy dealing with our dollar crisis by printing up more dollars.

Yes, there certainly is a lot for Washington to do these days. Most, if not all, of what Washington is doing however, is more of what created the problems in the first place. Capitol Hill is filled with politicians running around putting out fires – but with gasoline. The truth is that all these fires keep so many powerful people employed and wealthy that it is not truly in many decision makers’ interests to be very effective problem-solvers. If Washington ran out of problems, think how many lobbyists would be out of a job, and how many special interest groups would just disband? Sadly, whatever is bad for the greater economy is good for the economy and job market in DC.

Of course, no form of government, not even one that respected its Constitutional restraints, would magically create a problem-free society. The question is: how should a society deal with its problems? The form of government that our founders envisioned, in which the federal government was strictly constrained by the Constitution, allows private citizens and communities to solve their own problems. The role of the government should be to protect contracts, punish fraud and violence through appropriate laws, law enforcement and the courts. Not a whole lot of laws or bureaucrats are really necessary to work on just that. Instead, new laws are constantly needed to fix the problems that previous unconstitutional laws created. We have ended up with an incomprehensible maze of laws and regulations that severely constrains the people and expands the government – the exact opposite of what our founders intended.

This is all because the Constitution is treated like a suggestion manual instead of the supreme law of the land. Under the Constitution, politicians’ hands are supposed to be tied in most of the areas they involve themselves in today. But somewhere along the line, politicians stepped out of Constitutional bounds and started pretending to solve our problems for us. All we have to show for it is more problems.

Today, Washington politicians can busily “solve” one problem, knowing that unintended consequences from that “solution” will keep them and their friends all very busy tomorrow. The people are ultimately left suffocating under the burden of Washington’s helping hands. It is coming to a point where our economy, our dollar, and indeed, the rest of the world have had about all the help from Washington that they can stand. The United States is headed the way of Rome and the Soviet Union, for the same reasons, unless we reverse the trend.

I continue to hope that enough Americans will realize that the true strength of our country doesn’t come from Washington, but rather the limitations placed on government in the Constitution. We must resolve to reverse the destructive course that we are on and then never again let big government problem-solving take over our lives and our country.

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HR2630 – Protect Patients and Physicians Privacy Act

Monday, June 1st, 2009

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2630

To protect the privacy of patients and physicians.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 21, 2009

Mr. PAUL introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To protect the privacy of patients and physicians.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Protect Patients and Physicians Privacy Act’.

SEC. 2. PATIENT RIGHT TO OPT OUT OF ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORDS SYSTEM.

All individuals shall have the ability to opt out of any Federally mandated, created, or funded electronic system for maintaining health care information.

SEC. 3. REPEAL OF STANDARD UNIQUE HEALTH IDENTIFIERS.

(a) In General-

(1) Section 1173 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320d-2) is amended by striking subsection (b).

(2) Section 1177(a) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1320d-6(a)) is amended by striking paragraph (1).

(b) Prohibition of Federal Expenditures- No Federal funds shall be used to support, encourage, or otherwise promote the use of standard unique health identifiers (such as those described in section 1173(b) of the Social Security Act, before the amendment made by subsection (a)(1)) in any Federal, State, or private health care plan.

SEC. 4. REQUIREMENT OF INFORMED CONSENT FOR SHARING INFORMATION FROM ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS.

(a) Limitation on Sharing Information From EMRs-

(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2), no information from any electronic medical record maintained by a health care provider and created pursuant to a Federally mandated, created, or funded program may be shared with another health care provider absent a signed, informed consent from the patient involved.

(2) EXCEPTION FOR EMERGENCIES- Paragraph (1) shall not apply in a medical emergency.

(b) Limitation on Merger of Information- No health care information from an individual medical record shall be placed in a Federally mandated, created, or funded electronic system of health care information, absent a signed, informed consent from the patient involved.

(c) Definitions- In this subsection:

(1) INFORMED CONSENT- The term `informed consent’ means, with respect to the sharing of information concerning a patient, a written document certifying that the patient gives permission to such sharing of information.

(2) MEDICAL EMERGENCY- The term `medical emergency’ means any situation where the failure to provide immediate medical treatment or assistance could result in serious injury, loss of life, or both.

SEC. 5. PROVIDER FREEDOM FROM REQUIRED PARTICIPATION IN AN ELECTRONIC HEALTH CARE RECORDS PROGRAM.

(a) In General- The Federal Government may not require a health care provider to participate in any Federally mandated, created, or funded electronic system of maintaining health care information.

(b) Limitation- No health care provider shall be denied participation in, or otherwise sanctioned with respect to participation in, a Federal health care program because the provider refuses to participate in a Federally mandated, created, or funded electronic system of maintaining health care information.

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Fight Government Encroachment into Healthcare!

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Texas Straight Talk – A weekly column
Rep. Ron Paul (R) – TX 14

With a faltering economy, and skyrocketing costs, healthcare continues to be a critical issue for all Americans. Unfortunately government encroachment into the doctor/patient relationship is poised to exacerbate our problems with healthcare.

As an OB/GYN with over 30 years of experience in private practice, I understand that one of the foundations of quality healthcare is the patient’s confidence that all information shared with his or her healthcare provider will remain private. And yet, the Federal Government plans to undermine this trust with establishment of mandatory electronic medical records collections and “unique health identifier” numbers assigned to all Americans. Funding for this program was among the numerous provisions jammed into the stimulus bill rushed through Congress earlier this year.

Electronic medical records that are part of the federal system will only receive the protection granted by the federal “medical privacy rule.” This misnamed rule actually protects the ability of government officials and state-favored special interests to view private medical records without patient consent.

Aside from those concerns, the government’s ability to protect medical records is highly questionable. After all, we are all familiar with cases where third parties obtained access to electronic veteran, tax, and other records because of errors made by federal bureaucrats. We should also consider the abuse of IRS records by administrations of both parties. What would happen if unscrupulous politicians gained the power to access their political enemies’ electronic medical records?

For these reasons I have introduced the Protect Patients’ and Physicians’ Privacy Act, HR 2630, which allows patients and physicians to opt out of any federally mandated, created, or funded electronic medical records system. The bill also repeals sections of federal law establishing a “unique health identifier” and requires patient consent before any electronic medical records can be released to a 3rd party.

I have also introduced the Coercion is Not Health Care Act, HR 2629. This legislation forbids the federal government from forcing any American to purchase health insurance, or conditioning participation in any federal program on the purchase of health insurance. Forcing Americans to purchase government-approved health insurance is a back door approach to creating a government-controlled healthcare system. Congress would define what policies and coverage requirements satisfy their mandate. Does anyone then doubt that what conditions and treatments are covered would be determined by who has the most effective lobby? Or that Congress would be capable of writing a mandatory insurance policy that fits the unique needs of every individual in the United States?

With these conditions in place, I foresee the eventual imposition of price controls and limitations on what procedures and treatments that are covered. This will result in an increasing number of providers turning to “cash only” practices, making it difficult for those relying on the government-mandated insurance to find healthcare – the exact opposite of the desired result! Consider the increasing number of physicians who are already withdrawing from the Medicare program because of the low reimbursement and constant bureaucratic harassment from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Congress should put the American people back in charge of healthcare by expanding healthcare tax credits and deductions, increasing access to Health Savings Accounts, respecting privacy and the doctor/patient relationship. Further politicizing and bureaucratizing of healthcare will only increase costs and reduce quality, as demonstrated by most other countries with socialized medicine.

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