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Health Records Exposure Online Is "Warning Bell"

DATA LOSS—U.S.

August 22, 2011

Insurance forms, doctors' notes and Social Security numbers of 300,000 Californians were inadvertently made available online by a medical debt collection company, prompting some experts to warn of the privacy risks involving electronic medical record systems. The Associated Press reports that the company posted the data to a site that it thought was viewable by employees only. "Even the most well-designed systems are not safe...This case is a good example of how the human element is the weakest link," said Beth Givens of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. According to the report, the data was found by an Identity Finder researcher who says Southern California Medical-Legal Consultants failed to use basic techniques that could have protected the data.       
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