Laws and personal data protection

14/08/2007 Written by Boris Mutina

lockFor­mer coun­tries of the East block behind the Iron wall are still try­ing to develop bet­ter laws to serve their cit­i­zens. Some­times from this strug­gle are com­ming results that will make your hair grey in young age. Slo­va­kia, for exam­ple, is try­ing to make an amend­ment to the Health care Act .

What has health care to do with Zone-​H? Let me explain you.

As lek­var in his blog on com­mu­nity web­site black​hole​.sk stated: “George Orwell has been finally beaten…”. In the pro­posed amend­ment there is great part talk­ing about build­ing “National reg­is­ters and ascer­tain­ings with list of per­sonal data, pur­pose of usage and perime­ter of affected per­sons”. Strange name, that is cov­er­ing national data­bases of per­sons with spe­cific dis­eases, their disease’s progress, per­sonal data…

But to be pre­cise, let’s list required data:

* first name and sur­name
* birth name
* birth date
* birth code (sim­i­lar to insur­ance num­ber in U.S. — unique for every per­son)
* ZIP code
* address
* data about agree­ment of pro­vid­ing data
* anamnes­tic data with risc fac­tors about per­son and fam­ily
* dis­ease data
* data about health care pro­ce­dures and results
* diag­nose code
* diag­nose spec­i­fi­ca­tion
* first diag­nose detec­tion
* data about pro­vided health care
* sum­mary of dis­ease process and heal­ing
* epi­demi­o­logic impor­tant infor­ma­tions
* date of death (in case of death)
* cause of death
* pato­logic and anatomic diag­noses
* health insur­ance agency data
* health care provider data

These data should be pro­vided for each per­son ask­ing for health care. As amend­ment states, access to these data should be pro­vided to per­sons listed in another Act (Nr. 576 from 2002, §19 — §21). Funny thing is that Act nr. 576 from year 2002 is about “high pres­sure devices”.

Besides that, there should be such reg­is­ter for per­sons with dia­betes, psy­chic dis­eases, can­cer, hearth, brain, lungs dis­eases, TBC, trans­plan­ta­tion cases, trans­fer­able dis­eases, then reg­is­ter for arthro­plas­tic surgery… We know that in some cases such infor­ma­tions can be really help­ful for spe­cific dis­eases, but why to make such reg­is­ter for every per­son — even when vis­it­ing den­tist — on national base?

More­over, we know, that in Slo­va­kia, there have been sev­eral cases, that uncov­ered insuf­fi­cient data pro­tec­tion in gov­ern­men­tal sphere. Just to clar­ify, what we mean: two days ago Jus­tice Depart­ment together with Police spe­cial­ists doc­u­mented unpro­tected (means OPEN) access point on Region court in Ban­ska Bystrica (sec­ond high­est court instance in Slo­va­kia). As online edi­tion of SME news­pa­per informed, it was longer time pos­si­ble to down­load stored files and read e-​mails from judges…

If this should be the data pro­tec­tion level in gov­ern­men­tal sphere, then data of Slo­vak cit­i­zens are at high risk. Those, who are aware, are already afraid about this, or are talk­ing about neces­sity of such great data gath­er­ing.

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