Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Interwebz, health and privacy.

Google+ just went from private to beta...or so I'm told. I joyfully went over there to sign up with my real name...because they're big on real names...with my other email address. After about 30 screens I just gave up. It's not worth it. Why do they want to know all that stuff about me, and how do I keep it separate from anything else?

My company, a big health care firm, recently told me they were going to 'push' 'Gazelle' to my 'BlackBerry', a program that puts all my health records on line - for easier access, of course. And that was the same day I signed up for a $100 discount on my health care next year* if I filled in a questionnaire which I subsequently learned 'may' be shared with my insurance company. Am I really going to tell my employer and my health insurance company how much I drink, smoke, exercise and eat? I don't fucking think so. The tobacco questions were legally binding too, so I did answer them honestly. (I don't smoke, so it's easy to tell the truth.) Insurance companies drop you for any tiny thing they don't like. Why the hell should I tell them my eating habits for $100? My employer, you crazy.

I don't want my health records on line. I'm happy with them in big paper binders at my doctor's office. I trust my doctor (marginally). I don't want Google learning my real name and attempting to reconcile it with everything it finds on line (including Gazelle). It's bad enough it tracks this blog and this name everywhere. Watching my name pop up at the bottom of every news article I read because the comments sections is primed to accept my contribution is eerie enough. I've never signed up for Facebook and I never will. Employers now routinely ask for the Facebook name and password during job interviews. No fucking thanks. At least I can say with a straight face I don't got one.

You know, a couple of years ago, I insisted we get a static IP so I didn't have to convince the bank I was me every time I logged on. I think it's about time we went back to a dynamic one. Everyone I meet in real life knows who I am. You guys know who I am. I don't need Google following me around like a spaniel, or my company, or worse my health insurance, vacuuming up all the information I post on line.

*Health care this year - about $2000 from me and about $7000 from my company. Not exactly rock bottom as it is.

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