Individuals used AIDS-related medical services information on government health websites which lacked health data encryption. In the recent times health care security is on high priority agenda and lapses like federal websites demands for change. According to the reports, government is taking initiatives to secure the data. The sites have possible risk of exposing the identities of visitors as private information, like the actual latitude and longitude location of visitors.
“The sites and apps did not themselves track visitors, but their data was handled in ways that could have enabled monitoring by employers, universities or others with access to the data flowing between individual devices – such as computers and smartphones – and the Internet.,” the news source reported.
Steve Roosa, a partner at law firm Holland & Knight, first made the health data encryption discovery. Roosa explained that as part of HIPAA, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) enforces federal healthcare privacy rules when personal medical information is handled by private entities.
“It is somewhat shocking, and more than a little ironic, that HHS has opted not to adhere to its own standards here, when the failure to do so puts sensitive health information at risk,” Roosa said in the report.
Aids.gov was one of the website and its Director Miguel Gomez said they started automatically using encryption for all of its users. Since 2010, the website transmitted unencrypted location information of users searching for healthcare providers online. However, the site started offering encryption services – for those who knew how to use it – since last year.
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Organizations, especially corporate giants, have to have an information security policy in place that proves they have taken necessary steps and measures to safeguard the information they gathered. If these policies are not adhered to, the regulators may prosecute.
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