Dr. Deborah Peel from Patient Privacy Rights always keeps me updated on some of the latest news coverage around privacy and government surveillance. Obviously, it’s a big challenge in healthcare and she’s the leading advocate for patient privacy.
Today she sent me a link to this John Oliver interview with Snowden. The video is pretty NSFW with quite a bit of vulgarity in it (It’s John Oliver on HBO, so you’ve been warned). However, much like Stephen Colbert and John Stewart, they talk about some really important topics in a funny way. Plus, the part where he’s waiting to see if Snowden is going to actually show for the interview is hilarious.
The humor aside, about 10 minutes in John Oliver makes this incredibly insightful observation:
There are no easy answers here. We all naturally want perfect privacy and perfect safety, but those two things cannot coexist.
Either you have to lose one of them or you have to accept some reasonable restrictions on both of them.
This is the challenge of privacy and security. There are risks to having data available electronically and flowing between healthcare providers. However, there are benefits as well.
I’ve found the right approach is to keenly focused on the benefits you want to achieve in using technology in your organization. Then, after you’ve focused the technology on the benefits, work through all of the risks you face. Once you have that list of risks, you work to mitigate those risks as much as possible.
As my hacker friend said, “You’ll never be 100% secure. Someone can always get in if they’re motivated enough. However, you can make it hard enough for them to breach that they’ll go somewhere else.”