When my mother went to see her podiatrist this morning at the local McClinic, there was a little webcam set up on the reception desk and they insisted that she be photographed. I asked whether this was a requirement of their clinic and was told it was a new law. The receptionist also told me it was for Mother’s benefit, which isn’t entirely true.
In 2009, Kaiser Health News reported that medical identity theft accounted for 1.3-3% of all identity theft. However, new credit account fraud accounted for 39% of identity theft that year and we all know that credit card companies aren’t asking for our photographs.
The receptionist also assured me that she would be the only one viewing the photo. Don’t you hate being lied to like that? How stupid do they think we are? By the time the doctor entered the room, the photograph was displayed on the open laptop. These laptops are in all exam rooms and are always open.
In 2009, the Federal Trade Commission began implementing a new “Red Flags Rule” and started requiring healthcare providers to check for “red flags” of identity theft. So patients began having to show photo id to obtain service.
While I understand that identity theft is a nightmare for its victims, photographing consumers is an egregious invasion of privacy. And medical patients are consumers. How and when did that fact get lost?
This is just another example of data collection and government bullying couched in their favorite saying that it’s for our own good. And almost everyone believes them.