Over in the UK, as they're getting ready to rollout a new electronic patient record system for healthcare, there are a number of worries that such a system will inevitably lead to huge privacy breaches. Since it will be a centralized system that many people will have access to (and which many others may eventually figure out how to access illegally), there are legitimate fears that one of these days, rather than reports about social security numbers and credit card numbers lost through a data breach, it will be your personal medical records -- which aren't as easy to change as a credit card number. However, those behind the system insist that they've built it with security and privacy in mind -- and point out that the alternatives (basically, the current system) is that much worse. While it may not be as accessible, the paper records system is slow, inefficient, doesn't help you very much when you're at a different location -- and not all that secure in the first place. But the real question is whether or not this needs to be a balancing act. Are there better ways to construct a system that has the benefits of making information available while also protecting your privacy from prying eyes? Or are these two things mutually exclusive?
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