The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a practice guide on how health care providers can share patient information securely through mobile devices. The guide is the first in a series dedicated to the development of advanced cybersecurity for all organizations.

Tablets and smartphones are already integrated in the health professions, as 87% of physicians report using a tablet or smartphone in the workplace. Physicians can exchange patient information, submit medical claims, access electronic records, and e-prescribe through mobile devices. In general, the use of mobile devices for these tasks is efficient and less susceptible to error.

However, the use of tablets and smart phones for secure health information carries significant risk. Vital patient information could be leaked if the device were lost or stolen, or if a patient sent data through insecure cellular networks. Without developed authentication or data encryption, patients face the threat of “medical identity theft,” disastrous for both their own health and the success of their provider.

NIST guide seeks to mitigate risks through explicit instructions and hypothetical scenarios. The guide will take comments from the public until Sept. 25, 2015.

Article via Ice Miller Strategies LLC, August 6, 2015

Photo: Man at work–physician assistant via yooperann [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

Legislation was passed last spring that allows police in North Dakota to utilize drones not only for surveillance but also as non-lethal weapons. The bill, which was originally introduced by Representative Rick Becker, did not permit the use of any kind of weaponry to be used, but lobbyists advocated for the bill to be amended to allow non-lethal weapons in order to win the support of law enforcement. There are restrictions incorporated into the law that limit the scenarios in which drones can be used by police, though. For example, a drone may only be used for surveillance if the data will be used in investigating a felony, and law enforcement must obtain a warrant to use the drone which includes very specific details on how, when and where it will be used. There are also limits on how personal information that the drone uncovers may be dealt with. Even with some restrictions within the legislature limiting the use of drones, some say that the drones are providing law enforcement with too much power.

Jay Stanley from the American Civil Liberties Union states that even non-lethal weapons can still have lethal results. Tasers, though non-lethal, still lead to approximately fifty deaths a year. Additionally, using drones may lead to detachment between the person operating the drone and the suspect on the other side, which could lead to regrettable choices. Jim McGregor disagrees, explaining that police officers out in the field may have a harder time making the right call than someone operating a drone in an offsite location with less to distract them. He likens drones to other methods, including SWAT teams and snipers, to show that drones are not so different from well-known choices for dealing with dangerous situations.

Whether non-lethal drones are a positive or negative development in law enforcement technology, Representative Becker intends to propose a  new law that will make non-lethal as well as lethal weaponry on drones illegal.

Article via TechNewsWorld, August 28, 2015

Photo: Drone via ninfaj [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

Recent incidences of police brutality have sparked public outrage, and as a result, the use of police dashboard and body cameras has increased. However, footage released to the public could be altered. Sandra Bland’s arrest video, for example, loops several times in the 52 minute span. Journalists have accused police departments of editing the videos; the Texas Department of Public Safety denies any tampering of the footage.

Police camera footage is stored unaltered on police department software systems. This is because the Axon body cam dominates the police camera industry, and it records footage in a way that is nearly impossible to corrupt. The only way an officer could impede a video is by physically pushing the off-button for five seconds, an unlikely occurrence during a high-intensity event. Additionally, the officer’s name is attached to the video for as long as it exists in the software system.

Although raw footage can’t be edited, there’s no way to regulate what edits are made to the footage released to the public. In fact, almost all videos that the media releases are edited—bystanders’ faces are blurred, and sections of video with no action are removed. The Freedom of Information Act has no provisions that require police departments to release raw footage. However, several incidences recorded on police cameras have led to the indictment of guilty officers, and no allegations that videos are tampered have been confirmed.

It’s evident that police body and dashboard cams will continue to rise to prominence, whether the accusations of video tampering are true or not. The Obama administration has proposed a $75 million program to provide 50,000 cameras to agencies, and the Department of Justice is allocating $20 million for police body cameras.

Article via The Huffington Post, August 28, 2015

Photo:  via Whoop Whoop that’s the Sound of the Police via AshtonPal [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]