How the U.S. Spies on Medical Nonprofits and Health Defenses Worldwide

As part of an ongoing effort to “exploit medical intelligence,” the National Security Agency teamed up with the military-focused Defense Intelligence Agency to extract “medical SIGINT” from the intercepted communications of nonprofit groups starting in the early 2000s, a top-secret document shows.

Fuente: How the U.S. Spies on Medical Nonprofits and Health Defenses Worldwide


Police access to medical records will not help the vulnerable | Deborah Orr | Comment is free | theguardian.com

Police access to medical records will not help the vulnerable | Deborah Orr | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

The police are straying too far from their remit. The last thing they should do is take on responsibilities that belong to other agencies

Police want right to see medical records without consent

 

 

Woman filing medical records
‘If a person does not want the police involved, then in some cases that’s going to make them reluctant even to turn to their GP.’ Photograph: Sean Justice/Getty Images

 

The Greater Manchester chief constable, Sir Peter Fahy, has told the Guardian that the police want quick and easy access to medical and other confidential records without the consent of the individual concerned. In the light of other recent revelations about state incursion into private data, one is tempted to note that it’s nice of them to ask.

Before stating the obvious – that this sounds horribly Kafkaesque – it’s worth mentioning the positive side of all this. It’s a good thing the police now recognise that the majority of the people who come to their attention are vulnerable and find it hard to do what’s best for themselves, let alone what’s best for those around them. It was only 20 years ago, after all, that even Britain’s prime minister, John Major, was claiming “society needs to condemn a little more and understand a little less”. So this development signals a huge change in attitudes.

However, far from being an indication that the police need more power, it’s a sign that they are now straying too far from their remit, which is to maintain law and order. Fahy himself talks of having an ability “to solve the problem without a criminal justice system approach”.

On this, he’s dead right, even though his solution is an unwelcome one. The difficulty is that the police are already too embroiled in complex cases that may involve mental health problems, learning disabilities or addictions. That is the job of social workers. Fahy says the police do not have the manpower and resources they need to deal with the problems they are being asked to become involved in. The last thing we need is for them to have less clarity of purpose.

The issue is that other agencies – primarily mental health and social work services – are even more starved of investment than the police. Fahy, in essence, is allowing his thoughts to be guided by instincts of professional closure. He understands the police are involved in matters for which they are not equipped. But his answer is to equip them, not to call for others to become equipped. He does not see that his proposal would make the vulnerable even more so.

The dangers of this approach are most clear when considering Fahy’s most controversial example – that the police should be alerted to people suffering from domestic violence even if it isn’t what they want. If a person does not want the police involved, and the involvement of health professionals may trigger that anyway, then in some cases that’s going to make them reluctant even to turn to their GP.

That’s the trouble with passing on information without people’s consent. They become more reluctant to share any information at all, even when it is dangerous for them to keep things to themselves. On the contrary, people need to be able to get help before the police become involved. Too often, matters are allowed to reach a crisis before there is much in the way of societal intervention.


Internet: entre Mente y Cuerpo


Si algo no está en Internet, es porque no tiene importancia. Hoy vivimos de acuerdo a ese credo. Uno que permea y reconfigura aspectos centrales de nuestra visión de mundo. Por ejemplo: Considere la hoy masiva alianza de Internet con la sexualidad. Sin erótica, Internet perdería mucho —eso no lo niegan ni los más puritanos. Internet debe incluir sexo. Pero también parece hoy cada vez más posible, limitar la sexualidad al ciber-mundo virtual. A muchos hoy les parece que no necesitamos experienciar nada más real. Ello, a pesar de que aún entendemos que la sexualidad es, sobre todo, una pulsión que destilan nuestros cuerpos; esos mismos cuerpos que no pueden ser subidos a Internet; que en los momentos álgidos de la ciber-erótica, permanecen apartados. ¿Cómo es posible que la sexualidad triunfe en Internet dándole la espalda a aquello que parecía ser su principal motivación? Se privilegia la facilidad e inmediatez que ofrece Internet, para gatillar efímeras emociones mentales. Y con ello, al mismo tiempo, se obvian vivencias más profundas que precisarían recurrir a la solvencia sexual de los cuerpos  ¿Será por eso que hasta las gracias de esa solvencia, la competencia y la fiabilidad corporal, ya no seducen tanto? No sería el único caso en que subir la mente a Internet conlleva traicionar al cuerpo que queda abajo.


Prohibido conectar con la oficina | Sociedad | EL PAÍS

Prohibido conectar con la oficina | Sociedad | EL PAÍS.

En Francia, consultores, los informáticos e ingenieros con cargos de responsabilidad deberán apagar sus móviles y ordenadores 11 horas diarias

Las tecnologías han alargado sin límite el tiempo de trabajo

/ 10 ABR 2014 – 21:55 CET

 

El acuerdo adoptado en Francia, que debe ser ratificado por el Gobierno, afecta a unos 850.000 trabajadores. / santi burgos

 

Los consultores e ingenieros franceses que desempeñan cargos de responsabilidad pueden respirar más tranquilos: estarán obligados a apagar durante 11 horas diarias los móviles y ordenadores que les conectan con la oficina. Y las empresas deberán supervisar que se cumple esa prohibición de estar online. Algunos expertos acogen esta medida como un mal menor que delata otro mayor: sobrecargas de trabajo cada vez más frecuentes y conectividad y disponibilidad —alentada por las nuevas tecnologías— sin freno que sobrepasa los límites de las jornadas de trabajo.

 

Dos grandes sindicatos, la Confederación Francesa Democrática del Trabajo (CFDT) y la Confederación Francesa de Cuadros Directivos (CFE-CGC), han firmado un acuerdo con dos patronales del sector de asesoría técnica, ingeniería, servicios informáticos, recursos humanos y consultoría para intentar poner fin a la jornada interminable de los trabajadores. Para ello, aborda principalmente dos cuestiones: los tiempos de trabajo y de descanso del empleado y la carga de trabajo.

 

El empresario debe interesarse por la carga y el sueldo del asalariado

 

En concreto, el epígrafe 4.8.1 del documento, que deberá ser aprobado por el Gobierno antes de su publicación en el Journal Officiel (el BOE francés), se refiere al “tiempo de reposo y obligación de desconexión”. El documento empieza por afirmar que los asalariados sometidos a este acuerdo “disponen de un tiempo de descanso diario mínimo de 11 horas consecutivas, y de un reposo semanal de 35 horas mínimas consecutivas”. Pero, para evitar que el empresario deduzca que todo lo que no es tiempo mínimo de descanso puede ser ocupado por la jornada laboral, “se recuerda que dichos límites no tienen por objeto definir una jornada habitual de trabajo de 13 horas diarias, sino la duración máxima excepcional que puede tener la jornada laboral”.

 

En ese contexto, el acuerdo establece que “la efectividad del respeto, por parte del trabajador, de esos periodos de reposo implica su obligación de desconectar las herramientas de comunicación a distancia”. Al empleador le corresponderá, por un lado, “la puesta en marcha de una herramienta de seguimiento para garantizar el tiempo de descanso diario y semanal” del trabajador; y por otro, tomar las medidas necesarias para que el empleado “tenga la posibilidad de desconectarse de las herramientas de comunicación a distancia puestas a su disposición”. Es decir, no podrá dedicar a tareas relacionadas con el trabajo ni su tiempo de ocio al final de la jornada laboral ni el fin de semana.


Contractors defend work on Obamacare website at congressional hearing – live | World news | theguardian.com

Contractors defend work on Obamacare website at congressional hearing – live | World news | theguardian.com.

• Contractors blame government for insufficient testing
• ‘You’d have to ask CMS,’ top contractor says
• Vow of full functionality by mid-December
• Decision to eliminate anonymous shopping came late
• Read the latest blog summary

Obamacare website hearing
Senior vice-president of CGI Federal Cheryl Campbell testifies during a hearing on implementation of the Affordable Care Act before a House committee. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Summary

Here’s a summary of where things stand:

• The contractors were not contrite. They acknowledged that “issues arising in the federal exchange made enrollment difficult for too many Americans,” in the words of the top contractor. Questions about the source of those issues, however, were inevitably referred to the government. “You’d have to ask CMS,” said Cheryl Campbell of CGI Federal.

• The lawmakers expressed frustration that the contractors did not admit fault. “You’re essentially saying that everything was all right. It’s not all right!” said Rep. Anna Eshoo, Democrat of California. Said Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia: “I have not heard the word I’m sorry. I know men have a hard time saying that.”

 Contractors suggested that a lack of overall site testing was to blame for the bad rollout – again, the government’s fault. The contractors said their individual parts of the site tested well, but when end-to-end tests began, just two weeks before rollout, site-wide problems became apparent. “Months would have been nice,” one said.

• The site will work, they testified: The contractors said that bringing healthcare.gov to full functionality would not take six months or a year but a matter of weeks or months. Campbell said consumers would be able to hit the 15 December deadline for buying insurance that would kick in by January 2014, which is the first month the government starts keeping track for potential future penalty purposes of who has insurance and who does not.

• Republicans pushed for an explanation for a late-stage decision to disable anonymous shopping on the federal health exchanges.Two weeks before rollout, the government decided that consumers would have to register on the site before they could see what products they might buy, the contractors testified. One Republican said that decision was taken to “hide the true cost of Obamacare.”

• The sharpest exchange at the hearing came after a Republican asserted that the web site violated patient privacy laws. Democratic congressman Frank Pallone of New Jersey said that was bushwa and accused the GOP of scare tactics. “No I will not yield to this monkey court or whatever it is,” said Pallone. “I will not yield!”