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When It Comes to PII, Santa’s Got Nothing Over Amazon


Amazon this week announced new software that, as described by The Wall Street Journal, “can read patient records and other clinical notes, analyze them, and pluck out key data points.” Which means that not only do they know what you’re buying (Prime), and what you’re eating (Whole Foods), but now also what meds you’re taking. Which further means:

Amazon knows more about you than even Santa, who knows only when you’ve been sleeping, awake, bad, or good.

The fact that you have to put your info into the Amazon cloud means you opt into the building of the database Amazon leverages for its new offering. (Just as we do now when we sign up for the Baby Registry.) But at what point do we stop and consider how much of our personally-identifiable information we are giving to this erstwhile online bookstore?

I must confess, I’m deeply embedded in the Amazon environment, as I am with Google and Microsoft and a few others. And the reason I am is that it’s just so darn inconvenient not to be! So yes, I’m complicit in the ever-accelerating decay of our privacy. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it, or will stop making privacy a priority in my infogov work and my social advocacy.

Even if it puts me on the naughty list.

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