Health

05 Aug 2020
In early August, when the UK government announced it was purchasing 90-minute saliva-based COVID-19 tests called LamPORE and 5,000 lab-free machines to process them, supplied by DNANudge, clinical researchers were dismayed to find that there is no publicly available data about the accuracy or
29 Jul 2020
Questions have been raised about an irregular process by which the Trump administration awarded a $10.2 million dollar six-month contract to Pittsburgh-based TeleTracking Technologies. TeleTracking has traditionally sold software to help hospitals track patient status; under the new contract it is
The Atlantic’s COVID Tracking Project, in collaboration with the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, has begun gathering up-to-date race and ethnicity data relating to COVID-19 in the US. Nationwide, black people are dying at a rate 2.5 times higher than white people. Different
20 May 2020
After the CEO of NHSx told the the UK parliament that data harvested by the NHSx contact tracing app would be retained for future research, the UK Ministry of Defence said it would turn the data over to its Jhub to sanitise the data and remove all personally identifying information before passing it
25 May 2020
Local health authorities in Germany have relied on human contact tracers since the country confirmed its first COVID-19 cases early in 2020, and say that doing so has helped the country keep its death rate comparatively low even with a less restrictive lockdown than many other countries. Germany
25 May 2020
Numerous companies are repurposing their body monitors, asset trackers, and electronic ankle monitors and marketing them to the newly-created market for strap-on surveillance bracelets to enforce quarantine and social distancing including companies such as AiRISTA Flow. Redpoint Positioning
20 Apr 2020
To speed up daily temperature checks, Amazon has installed thermal cameras to screen workers for coronavirus symptoms in its warehouses around the world. Cases of COVID-19 have been reported at more than 50 of the company's US warehouses. Thermal cameras will also replace thermometers at staff
10 Apr 2020
NHS England is using Yoti's digital ID card solution to verify health care workers' identity; the cards are added to staff phones, enbaling them to use a contactless ID app to prove their identity both online and offline. Yoti is providing the system for free for three months to all public health
16 Apr 2020
Liechtenstein is the first European country to use biometric electronic bracelets to implement a real time coronavirus tracking programme. The bracelet, which sends skin temperature, breathing, and pulse, among other metrics, for analysis in a Swiss lab, is being offered to 5% of the population. The
16 Apr 2020
New versions of drones that currently issue audio warnings reminding people in Elizabeth, New Jersey to observe social distancing guidelines will incorporate sensors and fever-detecting cameras that will monitor if people are sick or failing to social distance on the trails and in the parks of
08 Apr 2020
Oura Rings, which measure body temperature and blood pulse volume to determine heart and respiratory rate and track sleep, are the subject of a national study being jointly conducted by the West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, WVU Medicine, and Oura Health in hopes it can be
23 Mar 2020
An Excel file containing complete data pertaining to patients tested for coronavirus in the cities Quetta and Taftan in the the Balochistan region of Pakistan has been circulating in WhatsApp groups about Balochistan. The file contains information such as names, phone numbers, age address and other
08 Apr 2020
Germany's federal agency responsible for disease control and prevention, the Robert Koch Institute, has teamed up with the health technology start-up Thryve to develop an app called Corona-Datenspende ("data donation") that works with a variety of smartwatches and fitness wristbands. The app is
17 Mar 2020
The US Department of Health and Human Services has announced it will waive penalties for violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which protects patient data privacy. HHS argued that in the nationwide emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, greater latitude is needed
01 Apr 2020
On March 20, the UK's Department of Health and Social Care published a notice providing legal backing for the NHS to set aside the duty of patient confidentiality as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As long as it is to fight the coronavirus, NHS organisations and GPs may share whatever
27 Mar 2020
The company that makes the Natural Cycles women’s fertility app has added n optional service to allow users to track Covid-19 symptoms as well as positive and negative tests. As part of its fertility service, the app already takes each user’s basal body temperature daily; enabling the additional
28 Mar 2020
The World Health Organization will partner with major blockchain and technology companies to launch a distributed ledger-based platform to be dubbed "MiPasa" that it says will facilitate "fully private information sharing between individuals, state authorities, and health institutions" by cross
27 Mar 2020
Together with Norwegian company Simula the Norwegian Institute of Public Health is developping a voluntary app to track users geolocation and slow the spread of Covid-19. Running in the background, the app will collect GPS and Bluetooth location data and store them on a server for 30 days. If a user
20 Mar 2020
On March 20, the Peruvian government introduced a website where citizens can retrieve the results of tests for COVID-19. The site asks only for the patient to fill in their National ID number and a simple captcha, making it easy for unauthorised parties to access others' results and put people at
17 Mar 2020
Aided by its small size, Singapore's contact tracing efforts were a key element of controlling the virus's spread; detectives used CCTV footage to locate the contacts of more than 6,000 people. Singapore also contacts individuals required to self-isolate several times a day and requires them to send
20 Mar 2020
The new Singaporean app, TraceTogether, developed by the Government Technology Agency in collaboration with the Ministry of Health was launched on March 20 after eight weeks of development. The app, which can be downloaded by anyone with a Singapore mobile number and a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone
14 Mar 2020
On March 14, the Peruvian government set up a website for individuals to check their symptoms so they can be directed towards sources of help. The web form asks for ID number, phone, email and home address. Source: https://www.gob.pe/coronavirus Writer: Peruvian government Publication: Peruvian
15 Mar 2020
The Thai Tech Startup Association, Department of Disease Control (Ministry of Public Health), Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Ministry of Digital Economy and Society), and National Innovation Agency have developed a questionnaire on an app which as adverised on the Thai Tech Startup Associaiton
12 Feb 2020
In mid-February the Federal Register published new CDC rules, which came into interim effect on February 7, under which airlines are required to collect the name and contact information of all passengers and crew arriving in the United States on international flights, and to transmit this
26 Feb 2020
A new surveillance system to detect cases of COVID-19 in England was established by Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS to strengthen existing systems and to prepare for and prevent wider transmission of the virus. Some NHS hospitals have been asked to take part in the plan, which involves
06 Mar 2020
The "safety guidance texts" sent by health authorities and district offices in South Korea are causing information overload and have included embarrassing revelations about infected people's private lives. A text may include, for example, a link to trace the movements of people who have recently
06 Mar 2020
China's airport screening, which includes scanning all arriving passengers for fever using “noncontact thermal imaging” since late January and requiring passengers to report their health status on arrival, look reassuring but won't stop the spread of the novel coronavirus because experience with
By 2018, the Danish municipality of Gladsaxe, in Copenhagen, began identifying children at risk of abuse so that flagged families could be targeted for early intervention by applying a set of specially designed algorithms to information already gathered by the centralised Udbetaling Danmark
In November 2018 the UK's Equality and Human Rights Commission warned that asylum seekers have been deterred from seeking medical help in Scotland and Wales since the UK government began forcing the English NHS to charge upfront in 2017 and by fears that medical personnel will comply with Home
In 2018, technology companies and medical providers were experimenting with machine learning and AI to mine health records and online posts to identify patterns linked to suicide, hoping to be able to predict, and therefore prevent, such attempts. On the academic side, a pilot programme conducted by
The pregnancy apps many women were using in December 2018 proved to be incapable of handling miscarriages, even though up to 20% of all known pregnancies end this way. There are only two choices: allow the apps to continue sending alerts celebrating the pregnancy's progress or delete the pregnancy
01 Feb 2016
French website IVG.net, first Google result when typing IVG (Interuption Volontaire de Grossesse or abortion in french), has been exposed as being anti-abortion website spreading misinformation. Offering an official looking "Numero vert" (free to call phone number number), IVG.net attempts to
20 Feb 2019
In February 2019, an anonymous tip-off to Computer Sweden revealed that a database containing recordings of 170,000 hours of calls made to the Vårdguiden 1177 non-emergency healthcare advice line was left without encryption or password protection on an open web server provided by Voice Integrate
24 Jan 2019
By January 2019, more than 100 million women worldwide were using smartphone apps that began as period-tracking apps but were beginning to branch out into tracking other types of health data - and also to broaden their use of the data they collect in search or profit. Unlike medical establishments
12 Jul 2018
While not currently mandatory to access healthcare services, Aadhaar is however increasingly used in the health sector as well. In 2018, the health ministry had to issue a statement to clarify that Aadhaar was “desirable” but not a must to access a 5 rupee insurance cover for hospitalisation under
15 Jun 2018
In June 2018, a panel set up to examine the partnerships between Alphabet's DeepMind and the UK's NHS express concern that the revenue-less AI subsidiary would eventually have to prove its value to its parent. Panel chair Julian Huppert said DeepMind should commit to a business model, either non
11 May 2018
In 2018, the Brazil-based Coding Rights' feminist online cybersecurity guide Chupadados undertook a study of four popular period-tracking apps to find which best protected user privacy. Most, they found, rely on collecting and analysing data in order to be financially viable. The apps track more
20 Aug 2018
In August 2018 the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first over-the-counter digital contraceptive, an app called Natural Cycles. The app, which analyses basal body temperature readings and monthly menstruation data to determine whether unprotected sex is likely to lead to pregnancy
12 Jul 2018
In July 2018, the leader of a private Facebook group for women with the BRCA gene, which is associated with high breast cancer risk, discovered that a Chrome plug-in was allowing marketers to harvest group members' names and other information. The group was concerned that exposure might lead to
19 Sep 2018
In September 2018, the 156-year-old US life insurance company John Hancock announced it would stop underwriting traditional life insurance policies, instead selling only interactive policies that track health and fitness through the data collected by wearable devices and smartphones. Interactive
09 Oct 2018
In October 2018 Amazon patented a new version of its Alexa virtual assistant that would analyse speech to identify signs of illness or emotion and offer to sell remedies. The patent also envisions using the technology to target ads. Although the company may never exploit the patent, the NHS had
15 Oct 2018
In March 2018 the Palo Alto startup Mindstrong Health, founded by three doctors, began clinical tests of an app that uses patients' interactions with their smartphones to monitor their mental state. The app, which is being tested on people with serious illness, measures the way patients swipe, tap
29 May 2018
In 2018, a Duke University medical doctor who worked with Microsoft researchers to analyse millions of Bing user searches found links between some computer users' physical behaviours - tremors while using a mouse, repeated queries, and average scrolling speed - and Parkinson's disease. The hope was
04 Apr 2017
In 2017, the Massachusetts attorney general's office reached an agreement under which Boston-based Copley Advertising agreed to eschew sending mobile ads to patients visiting Planned Parenthood and other health clinics. In 2015, Copley's geofencing technique used location information from
25 May 2018
In 2018, the digital marketing company Tell All Digital began marketing technology to personal injury law firms to enable them to send mobile ads to patients they know are waiting for treatment in an emergency room and for up to a month afterwards. The technology relies on geofencing, a technique
01 Aug 2018
By August 2018, the UK government's "hostile environment" policy, as set out in the 2014 and 2016 Immigration Acts and other measures, was extending the national border into the heart of services such as banking, education, health, and housing where landlords and staff have been forced to implement
02 Jan 2018
In February 2018 the Canadian government announced a three-month pilot partnership with the artificial intelligence company Advanced Symbolics to monitor social media posts with a view to predicting rises in regional suicide risk. Advanced Symbolics will look for trends by analysing posts from 160
04 Sep 2016
A pregnancy-tracking app collected basic information such as name, address, age, and date of last period from its users. A woman who miscarried found that although she had entered the miscarriage into the app to terminate its tracking, the information was not passed along to the marketers to which
29 May 2015
By 2015, the cost, invasiveness, and effort involved in conducting medical tests led to proposals for lightweight wearable sensors that could perform the same job. Several such efforts focus on making these sensors fashionably acceptable by making them out of skinlike substances with electronics
08 Nov 2016
In 2016, researchers at MIT developed a wristband device to automate tracking screen time based on an off-the-shelf colour sensor used to calibrate colour and brightness in TVs and other screens and a learning algorithm that could detect when a screen was nearby. The device was intended for use in a
08 Aug 2016
Many people fail to recognise the sensitivity of the data collected by fitness tracking devices, focusing instead on the messages and photographs collected by mobile phone apps and social media. Increasingly, however, researchers are finding that the data collected by these trackers - seemingly
02 Oct 2015
In 2015, researchers at Harvard University found vulnerabilities in the anonymisation procedures used for health care data in South Korea that enabled them to de-anonymise patients with a 100% success rate and to decrypt the Resident Registration Numbers included with prescription data relating to
21 Jun 2016
In 2015, the DNA testing company 23andMe revealed it had sold access to the DNA information it had collected from the 1.2 million people who had paid for genetic testing to more than 13 drug companies. One of these was Genentech, which paid $10 million to look at the genes of people with Parkinson's
10 Jun 2016
In June 2016, National Security Agency deputy director Richard Ledgett told a conference on military technology conference that the agency was researching whether internet-connected biomedical devices such as pacemakers could be used to collect foreign intelligence. Ledgett identified the complexity
25 May 2016
In 2015, Boston advertising executive John Flynn, CEO of Copley Advertising, began developing a system that uses standard online advertising and tracking techniques, coupled with geofencing, to send advertisements to women's smartphones when they are sitting inside Planned Parenthood clinics and
10 Oct 2016
In 2016, rising awareness of the profits pharmaceutical and other medical companies make from personal data such as DNA samples and cell lines led to the rise of a "biorights" movement to ensure that patients retain greater control over their contributions. A federal complaint filed by the American
21 Sep 2016
In 2016, researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory developed a new device that uses wireless signals that measure heartbeats by bouncing off a person's body. The researchers claim that this system is 87% accurate in recognising joy, pleasure, sadness, or anger
03 May 2016
In 2012, London Royal Free, Barnet, and Chase Farm hospitals agreed to provide Google's DeepMind subsidiary with access to an estimated 1.6 million NHS patient records, including full names and medical histories. The company claimed the information, which would remain encrypted so that employees
06 Apr 2017
In 2015, the Swedish startup hub Epicenter began offering employees microchip implants that unlock doors, operate printers, and pay for food and drink. By 2017, about 150 of the 2,000 workers employed by the hub's more than 100 companies had accepted the implants. Epicenter is just one of a number