Healthcare.gov is no different than any other alliance between politicians and supposedly “private” businesses. Whenever you hear about “public private partnerships” you are being told the government is selling you to a corporation for their benefit.
As we have pointed out before, Healthcare.gov was designed without basic online security, it is the latest in a tradition of exposing Americans’ private health information in an unsecure online database, and it is similar to many other government online databases that are lacking security.
But Healthcare.gov also has unique problems according to some. Associated Press reported on the problems under the headline, “New privacy concerns over government’s health care website.”
“As I look at vendors on a website…they could be another potential point of failure,” said corporate cybersecurity consultant Theresa Payton. “Vendor management can often be the weakest link in your privacy and security chain.”
A former White House chief information officer under President George W. Bush, she said the large number of outside connections on HealthCare.gov seems like “overkill” and makes it “kind of an outlier” among government websites.
Not only is the Healthcare.gov generally insecure, but it appears to have been designed to allow corporate “partners” to track users’ private information.
It works like this: When you apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, dozens of data companies may be able to tell that you are on the site. Some can even glean details such as your age, income, ZIP code, whether you smoke or if you are pregnant.
The data firms have embedded connections on the government site. Ever-evolving technology allows for individual Internet users to be tracked, building profiles that are a vital tool for advertisers.
Connections to multiple third-party tech firms were documented by technology experts who analyzed HealthCare.gov, and confirmed by The Associated Press. There is no evidence that personal information from HealthCare.gov has been misused, but the number of outside connections is raising questions.
The chances that this has all happened by accident are just about zero.
In the meantime, President Obama shows no concern for looking like a hypocrite. He is promising to “protect personal data online.” I guess the irony is lost on him.