Monthly Archives: August 2014


Reuters reports that Community Health Systems Inc., one of the largest providers of Health Care in the US, have been victims of a cyber attack in April and June of this year resulting in the loss of personal data belonging to 4.5 million patients. The cyber attack is believed to have originated from China and involved a hacking group called “APT18” which is believed to have links to the Chinese government.

US Hospital group loses patient data in cyber attack


Vikram Dodd writes in the Guardian that Sir Peter Fahy the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester has said that the Police want new and expanded rights to access medical records and other confidential data without an individual’s consent. Fahy said that the enhanced access to sensitive data was needed to help Police cope with growing numbers of vulnerable people, such as the elderly, people with dementia, those with drug and alcohol problems and those with mental health problems.   Most controversially though, he said medical professionals should share information about women suffering from domestic abuse, even against the victim’s wishes.

Police want right to see medical records without consent


David Barrett writes in the Daily Telegraph that the Information Commissioner has said lawyers must take step to protect sensitive data paperwork and data.  This follows 15 complaints about data breaches by solicitors and barristers in the last three months. Christopher Graham the Information Commissioner said: “The number of breaches reported by barristers and solicitors may not seem that high, but given the sensitive information they handle, and the fact that it is often held in paper files rather than secured by any sort of encryption, that number is troubling.”

Lawyers must step up data protection measures after series of ...



John Hawes writes on the Sophos Naked Security website reports that Google has revealed the identity of a Gmail account to authorities in Houston, Texas, USA after finding child abuse images in e-mails. Google scans Gmail user’s e-mails to provide amongst other things targeted advertising; however, this is the first time that there has been a report of Google scanning e-mails for criminal activity. The revelation raises concerns about privacy of e-mails and extent to which Google is involved in supplying information to Governments. A later report on the BBC news website states that the BBC understands that Google does not scan e-mails for other types of criminal activity. However, the very fact that Google could at some future date scan e-mails for other types of content, illegal or otherwise is a concern as what procedures and safeguards are in place is not clear. Subsequent to the Google story breaking […]

Google Spots Child Abuse Images in Gmail Users e-mails


Alex Matthews-King writes in Pulse that the Information Commissioner believes that General Practitioners should consider the notifying their patients about care.data as being “good customer service” and not as a “legalistic tick-box”. However, GP leaders have said this underestimates the strain it will put on practices to notify patients without additional funding.  Dr Grant Ingrams, deputy chair of the GPC’s IT subcommittee and a GP in Coventry told Pulse: ‘From the ICO’s point of view, GPs are the data controllers. So from their point of view, because we’re data controllers we’re the ones who need be sure that what needs to be done has been done.’ ‘From my point of view, that’s fine. But unless the NHS is going to fund that or provide the resources to do that, as in they do it on our behalf, or they fund us to do it, I don’t mind. Then it makes […]

GPs’ care.data responsibilities amount to ‘good customer service’


Symantec the computer security firm has published an article about how people using portable fitness monitors and other bluetooth enabled “life-loggers” can be tracked using a device as simple and cheap as a Raspberry Pi mini computer. Symantic researchers used the Rasberry Pi computer as a Bluetooth scanner, which they took out to athletic events and public spaces.  Using the improvised scanner, they were able to detect life-logging devices from the Bluetooth signals broadcast by the devices and track them using the unique hardware addresses they transmit. The researchers claim that depending on the devices configuration, remote querying could be possible with some devices which reveal device characteristics and allow users to be tracked.  The researchers also highlighted that some 20% of devices transmitted user details in plain text which has obvious security concerns. The researchers concluded that: “From the results of this research, it appears that manufacturers of these […]

How safe is your quantified self? Tracking, monitoring, and wearable ...



The BBC reports that a new media law imposing restrictions on social media users has come into force in Russia. The law means that bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers must register with the Russian mass media regulator, Roskomnadzor and conform to the regulations that previously only applied to larger media outlets.  These regulations amongst other things forbid publishing false information, hate speech, or obscenities.  However, the law is widely seen as a means for President Putin and the Russian authorities to crack down on their critics. Critics of the Russian state have increasingly been targeted by the authorities and in March, Moscow blocked the blog of Alexei Navalny a leading anti corruption campaigner and critic of Pesident Putin, along with two news sites and a organisation run by Garry Kasparov – another vocal critic of the Russian government.

Russia enacts ‘draconian’ law for bloggers and online media