Tech Friday

  • Health Data Privacy Under Assault as AI Advances:
  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) lead to the creation of the Privacy Rule, which created standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information (PHI)
  • Entities covered by HIPPA include health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers who electronically transmit health information
  • Healthcare providers must ensure the security of PHI and report breaches in a timely fashion
  • Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley recently published a study explaining how easy it is for AI systems to determine the identity of specific individuals based on their PHI and publicly available information
  • The Berkeley study of 15,000 people used step data (think fitness tracker or phone)
  • Using this data, AI can identify individuals by learning their daily step patterns and correlating that with large repositories of demographic data
  • One researcher said that the AI is "putting it all back together" no matter what steps are taken to anonymize and secure the data
  • The rise in the use of smart devices for health and wellness purposes is clearly reducing the privacy of PHI
  • Firefox Fission will block Spectre style attacks:
  • Mozilla, makers of the Firefox browser, are launching Project Fission to protect against side-channel attacks like Spectre and Meltdown
  • Spectre type attacks can be used to steal highly sensitive data by exploiting applications, operating systems and CPUs
  • The technology industry has been working to fundamentally redesign chips and software because of these flaws
  • Firefox was updated last year, and Project Fission should protect the browser from future Spectre type attacks
  • Platform Engineer Nika Layzell said "We aim to build a browser which isn't just secure against known security vulnerabilities, but also has layers of built-in defense against potential future vulnerabilities"
  • "Project Fission changes the Firefox browser architecture to make it even more secure and resilient to security vulnerabilities. We are defining early project milestones and sharing them so that people interested in Firefox development can follow along," Mozilla said in a statement Tuesday
  • Project Fission enables site isolation so that each website operates in a separate computing process. Google already enabled site isolation in its Chrome browser
  • Mozilla has not yet announced a release date for Project Fission
  • House Democrats take on technology issues:
  • The Democrat controlled House of Representatives is tackling large and controversial technology issues in this new session
  • Next Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee (HECC) will hold a hearing on Net Neutrality with former FCC chairmen Tom Wheeler (D) and Michael Powell (R) among those testifying
  • HECC sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, alerting him that the FCC will receive more scrutiny under Democratic leadership
  • HECC sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking for more information on the eavesdropping flaw in the Group FaceTime software
  • T-Mobile and Sprint executives are headed to DC for a joint hearing of the House Commerce and Judiciary Committees regarding their $26 billion merger and it's affect on consumers

Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more


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