In this day and age, no source of information is safe from prying eyes and hackers attempting to breach databases. Every so often, a company will accidentally leak confidential data, to great chagrin of affected individuals. In the case of a London HIV clinic, the leak of patient data could prove to be quite costly. There is no better time for decentralized record-keeping solutions and blockchain technology it seems.
Imagine being a HIV patient, and finding out your personal details have been leaked “on accident” by the clinic you entrusted the information to. Data leaks do not occur spontaneously, as there is always a human element involved in the equation. According to news sources, the leak occurred when the London-based HIV clinic sent out their Option E newsletter, and the sender neglected to hide recipient information.
Elliot Herman, whose husband was one of the intended recipients for this newsletter, stated:
“I was outraged that they revealed all this information. There were names on the list of people that haven’t revealed their [HIV] status to me. There is one name on the list of someone that I know to be dead.”
Shortly after the leak was discovered, the HIV clinic rushed to apologize for the mistake and recalled the email message. Recipients who received the email were given the advise to delete it from their mailbox as soon as possible, erasing any traces of it ever being sent out incorrectly.
The biggest culprit in this story is the person who sent the newsletter incorrectly, and not the technology enabling the message to be sent. However, this is a prime example of why autonomous, decentralized systems are needed, both for storing confidential patient data, and sending out emails in the correct format without revealing sensitive information.
Bitcoin’s blockchain technology offers a solution to both problems, as the protocol can be adapted to suit all kinds of different purposes. Storing data securely, which can only be accessed by providing a specific token – or multiple tokens from different individuals – is one possible scenario. Additionally, modifying the smart contracts principle to autonomously send email newsletter to the list of recipients in the correct format can be achieved quite easily as well.
What are your thoughts on this story, and do you see other potential solutions to reduce the risk of human error without using blockchain technology? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Wired UK
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