Artificial Intelligence Diagnostics Future Tech Security

Alexa and HIPAA

From Los Angeles Times:

She told me the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, aka HIPAA, the federal medical-privacy law passed in 1996, never anticipated a scenario in which people would willingly disclose confidential medical information to a private company via a voice-activated computer in their living room.

“HIPAA doesn’t apply to Amazon in this situation,” she said. “Amazon has no relationship with Alexa users as a healthcare provider. The company theoretically could do almost anything with that information.”

Source: Alexa may be key to Amazon’s looming domination of the healthcare market – Los Angeles Times

Very interesting on several levels.

First, what a wonderful service. You can simply ask Alexa a medical question and get an answer based on the best professional knowledge instantly. No calling for an appointment, taking time off work, finding a parking place, waiting, and waiting, then hassling with the insurer.

Second, The more we use the service the better Alexa will become at answering our questions.

BUT on another level what will Amazon do with all our intimate health related data? The bulk of the linked article is awfulizing, speculating on what Amazon might do.

I tend to be an optimist. The history of mankind is a relentless journey toward improving the human condition. Nevertheless I wish I trusted them more.