[FoRK] moar change we can believe in!

Damien Morton dmorton at bitfurnace.com
Mon Sep 14 08:27:34 PDT 2009

On Mon, Sep 14, 2009 at 3:12 AM, Tom Higgins <tomhiggins at gmail.com> wrote:

> All that though is just the content side of the shit storm. true if we
> can take away the easy collection of data it gets harder for the
> models to be made and used...but in other parts of our day the
> collection of data is on the rise. London's camera fetish is insane.Do
> not jump on this as being wing nutery but the gov getting into the
> Medical Records biz is not a happy fun thought.
When I was living in London a few years back, I was surprised to sit down
with a well to do intelligent woman and find that she was utterly in favor
of a government run centralised medical records system, oblivious to the
dangers of such a system (I suggested that its was likely that at some
point, all those records would be stolen by someone), and indifferent to the
suggestion that there were perfectly good ways to distribute such a system
to reduce the dangers (i.e. by having local doctors hold the records of
their patients, or patients holding their own records on thumbdrives).

The main argument she put forward was that a centralised system would allow
massive statistical surveys and analyses. I think she was implying that a
DNA database would eventually be integrated, further facilitating such

When I suggested that participation in such surveys and analyses should
remain the choice of each individual, subject to informed consent, and that
their doctor was probably the best source of advice on whether or not to
consent, the women just looked at me like I was insane.

I know what the difference between us was - she viewed the NHS as a
completely benevolent entity (which it largely is), and couldn't understand
why anyone might not want to contribute to making it more efficient. A
national medical records database probably does make national healthcare
function more effectively.

There is a fundamental philosophical difference here - Brits and Australians
expect their government to function, where Americans expect their government
not to function. I keep coming back to self-fulfilling prophecies, but there
it is.

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