Response from the Government

I got a letter last week from the Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights. This was in response to the privacy complaint I made after I got the lady’s personal id information, health information and social security number.

The letter asked my permission to give MY personal information to the company against which I had waged the complaint. Yup, and I wonder why privacy is a lost art The exact quote from the letter was “I understand that, it may become necessary for OCR (the office for civil rights), in the course of its responsibilities as a Federal civil rights agency, to reveal my identity or identifying information about me to persons at the institution under investigation or to other persons or institutions.” (To other persons or institutions?!?!?!)

And then asked me to check a “consent” box, which stated, “I have read and I understand the above and authorize OCR to reveal my identity and identifying information about me.”

I didn’t consent, obviously. I did however, jot a note on the paper I returned stating that given the fact that this was a complaint about the company’s inability to keep private information private, that I understandably did NOT want that company to have my information and that if this was the standard form letter, that I now understand why people who revere privacy and protect their own seldom complain about trespasses against others.

Basically, as nicely as I could muster, I said “this sucks!”

You know, privacy is uttering a death-rattle — nation and world wide. And I find myself torn between the convenience of wireless technology which “global positions” me for the world to see, and my personal right to privacy which seems fraught with difficulties on all sides.

In a series of recent doctor’s visits, I’ve been asked for my social security number on multiple occasions, even though my insurance is through Wayne, and my social has no relevance, other than a convenience for the medical community to identify me with one “national ID number.” It’s frustrating, and I’m tired of spending my life trying to protect my privacy. It’s always a battle. It would be so much easier to just have the damn number tattooed on my forehead and quit trying to protect it. Oh, wait — I’m having visions of a certain excerpt near the end of the Bible.

No, I’m not a religious fanatic. Just a run of the mill fanatic, and my issue of the day is privacy — again.

You know, it’s not the big things that wear you down, it’s the small little drips of water in the center of your forehead that drives you nuts and makes you submit. Like being asked for your social security number on a stack of forms in several different offices and then being required to explain why you refuse to give a social security number and reminding them that, no, they can’t legally refuse me service merely because I won’t give them that number, since it’s not required for any of their billing.

So the Government wants my personal information and plans to deliver it to the people who have already proven their inability to maintain an accountability where privacy is concerned? Nope. I don’t think so. Not this day.

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