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Latest in Books and articles

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NZ Doctor series - Privacy Matters (#41)

That profound and secret mystery

“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”

Charles Dickens wrote this in A Tale of Two Cities and it’s as true in 2015 as it was in 18...

NZ Doctor series - Privacy Matters (#40)

Speaking to the world

Communication always involves a speaker and a listener.  At its simplest, and sometimes most profound, there is only one of each.  A parent telling a story to their child tucked up in bed, partners whispering secrets, a patient and their doctor.   Ever since cavepeople decided to invent speech instead of grunting and throwing heavy metal hand signs at e...

NZ Doctor series - Privacy Matters (#39)

Testing times

We live in science-fictional times. You probably carry around a powerful computer that checks in with a range of multinational corporations a few times every minute, reports your location, stores your photos, records your footsteps, maybe even logs the fluctuations in your heartbeat.  

NZ Doctor Series - Privacy Matters (# 32)

As I write this, around half the population of New Zealand is sitting under the corrugated iron  roof of a warehouse in South Auckland.  Admittedly each person is only represented by a few spots of blood taken from them shortly after their birth.  But if your blood is in that warehouse, the DNA in those few drops is all a lab technician would need to unlock a wealth of information about your past and possible future.

The blood spots are held, of course, on the more than two million...

NZ Doctor Series - Privacy Matters (# 31)

It seems inevitable that we will have a largely electronic health record sooner rather than later. Sensitive information which might otherwise have been buried in a paper file somewhere will be electronically accessible forever.  To quote US security expert Bruce Schneier, ‘we are embarking on a grand experiment of never forgetting’.  

And where information sticks around forever, then the risk from ‘employee browsing’ increases sharply.  It’s easy enough to imagine a poli...

Newsline article (NZ Computer Society) May 2012

data breach; database; subscribers; identity information; media; misplaced, lost or stolen USB, laptop, i-phone; legal consequences; mandatory data breach notification; Law Commission

NZ Doctor series - Privacy Matters (#30)

3 November 2011

Good healthcare and good information are inseparable. Whatever your patient's condition, you need to know what's going on with them to give them good care.

Most of the time you will get that information by low-tech yet effective methods, such as talking. Talking gives you dozens of little data points. Data points assemble themselves into information, information becomes knowledge. And that knowledge is used to create a hypothesis about what might be wrong with th...