All posts in HIPAA

Too Much Privacy for the Virginia Tech Shooter?

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Virginia Tech Shooter

Marc Fisher, a Washington Post columnist, has a column in the Washington Post complaining about how privacy laws are getting in the way of the investigation into the background of the Virginia Tech Shooter. He writes:

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How HIPAA Was Undermined

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

HIPAA

The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) of the DOJ has issued a highly suspect interpretation of the original HIPAA that seriously undermines the enforceability of HIPAA.

Some background: In 1996, Congress Passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  The Act, at 42 U.S.C. § 1320d-6, provided in part for the protection of medical privacy – although it left the specific details to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish via a rulemaking.  HIPAA contained civil and criminal penalties for when:

A person who knowingly and in violation of this part–

(1) uses or causes to be used a unique health identifier;

(2) obtains individually identifiable health information relating to an individual; or

(3) discloses individually identifiable health information to another person

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