Medical records handed to pharmacies have no constitutionally protected privacy, says the DEA | The Verge

Medical records handed to pharmacies have no constitutionally protected privacy, says the DEA | The Verge.

It appears that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is publicly taking the position that medical records provided to pharmacists are not private and can be obtained by the DEA without the need to show cause for the production of such records.

This position, while not specifically constituting new law, has also not received serious challenge in the Courts as of yet. Pending such a challenge the DEA continues to seek and obtain such medical records from pharmacies by way of subpoenas which require no advanced finding of probably cause.

It does appear, however, that the ACLU is preparing to step up to the plate to challenge this practice. How such a challenge shakes out in the end may have a profound impact on the privacy of individual’s medical records, unless Congress steps into the fray to either explicitly uphold the privacy of such medical records or to explicitly limit or eliminate any expectation of privacy in individual medical records.

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California state legislature approves Location Privacy Act | Ars Technica

via California state legislature approves Location Privacy Act | Ars Technica.

According to an article on Ars Technica, California’s state legislature passed the Location Privacy Act of 2012 (SB-1434) on Wednesday, which would make it mandatory for law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before gathering any GPS or other location-tracking data that a suspect’s cell phone might be sending back to its carrier.

This is a different tack than the federal appeals court took last week in a different case. In that case the appeals court ruled that police were allowed to track a GPS coming from a suspect’s prepaid phone without a warrant.
It is clear that there remains a significant divide between courts and jurisdictions on the issue of expectation of privacy and Fourth Amendment search and seizure issues in the electronic age. It may be quite some time before these issues are decided with clarity. In the meantime the privacy debate rages on.