Profitable Government Health Surveillance

Non-Government health surveillance of public data is and has been conducted by many organizations including but not limited to faith based organizations, trade associations, industry groups, academia, non-profit organizations, funding agencies, research institutions, private for profit companies, professional agencies, rogue non-government entities, international world organizations, international & domestic government co-ops and more.

Typical government agencies collecting, surveilling & mining public health data are agencies such as The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), National Institutes of Health (NIH), World Health Organization (WHO, aka U.S. Government?), USAID, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Departments of State or Local Health Services Organizations (DSHS), US Military, Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) & other more obvious governmental groups not listed.

More & more personal data must be freely given to corporations by consumers when interacting; the same applies when the public interacts with the government. As this data is aggregated, disseminated, traded & made profitable many ethical questions have been raised regarding public safety, acceptable risk, stigmatizations, trust & public support for government surveillance. As a matter of recourse the public has little knowledge of the big data & profits generated from their personal data, but that’s half the story. When data is incorrect the public has little knowledge to this fact & if known has little chance getting the data corrected in the various databases warehousing the misinformation.

Additional resources & new ethics standards or laws have been the cry of many institutions, researchers and citizens as the mantra for big data & analysis continues to grow. There’s no doubt big data has made predicting outbreaks & minimizing their harm easier, the question is at what cost to personal liberties. Warning some of the following comments are graphic in nature & not appropriate for minors. Director of The Fogarty international Center Dr. Roger Glass allegedly said in a press conference as we move into areas hit by devastation we must have people’s personal data in order to help.

As an example, in the last disaster for each piece of personal data freely given the citizen would be given a grain of rice. So, for a family of four if they pooled their resources they could make an adequate meal of the rice, supporting them for a day. And, if the ailing family or families didn’t have enough sellable data making them profitable they wouldn’t be given shit, said the director. Emphasizing goodness & help only goes but so far, explaining the organization must be maintained & that’s done by obtaining & selling personal data.

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