I have had a few people say to me that I shouldn’t be concerned with whom the hospital shares our information.  After all, anyone can get all your personal information off the internet.  Well, it appears this is not true.  If it were, there would be no need to use methods such as buying the information from employees, as noted in the article below. 

National Post, August 23, 2008, pg. A6 [bolding is mine]:

Personal and financial information is becoming just as attractive as cocaine and marijuana to Canada’s organized crime groups. 

The problem of identity theft and fraud has become such a concern to police who investigate organized crime that it is the main focus of Criminal Intelligence Service Canada’s annual report.   “As we move more and more to the Internet and the technology being used, the risks are increasing.  A lot of the public are not very careful about their identity,” said Commissioner Elliott…. 

Inspector Roberty Chartrand of the Montreal police said investigators are noticing an increase of cases in which employees of companies and institutions are being tempted by the lure of easy money and selling large quantities of personal and financial information.  “We’ve noticed over the past year that there are a lot of people involved in different companies who give information from the inside to organized crime members. It’s not necessarily on the street [level].  It’s more like companies, government, it’s almost everywhere,” said Insp. Chartrand, who is also head of Quebec’s criminal intelligence bureau.  “It’s a pretty new phenomenon for us. It’s a nationwide problem.  ”The people are not very careful about their identity”.  

But a large part of the problem are the companies/organizations, such as hospitals, who demand information they do not need and who refuse you service if you do not provide it.  Obviously, the more companies/organizations that have your personal information, whether you give it to them directly or it is given by companies/organizations such as hospitals, the greater the risk. 

This is why we need to know with whom our information is being shared, how much is being shared and the circumstances. We need to monitor that our information is being shared appropriately and that the appropriate safeguards are in place.


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