Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

3/17/2008
03:54 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

Hospital Workers Busted For Snooping On Britney Spears' Medical Records

The Los Angeles Times reported over the weekend that medical workers violated the star's privacy when she visited the UCLA Medical Center in late January and early February of this year. They're all getting fired.

The Los Angeles Times reported over the weekend that medical workers violated the star's privacy when she visited the UCLA Medical Center in late January and early February of this year. They're all getting fired.And I hope, if the allegations are true, that criminal charges, or at the very least, hefty fines targeting the individuals soon follow the firings.

According to the LA Times' story, 13 employees have been fired, with six others having been suspended for looking at Spears' private medical records.

The UCLA Medical Center, hoping to avoid this very incident, issued a memo to hospital workers warning them not to access Spears' information if they're not authorized. From the story:

UCLA officials sent a memo the morning Spears was hospitalized Jan. 31, reminding employees that they were not allowed to peruse records unless directly caring for a patient. Spears, 26, was not specifically mentioned.

"Each member of our workforce, which includes our physicians, faculty, employees, volunteers, and students, is responsible to ensure that medical information is only accessed as required for treatment, for facilitating payment of a claim, or for supporting our health care operations," chief compliance and privacy officer Carole A. Klove wrote in an e-mail to all employees.

"Please remember that any unauthorized access by a workforce member will be subject to disciplinary action, which could include termination."

And the disciplinary actions, unfortunately, are what the situation came to.

Fortunately, the UCLA Medical Center started audited access to Spears' records.

It seems the medical center took many of the right precautions. They warned employees not to access private patient information. They then followed that up with proper monitoring and auditing -- as well as following through on the disciplinary actions.

Why is this incident important to IT security? It shows just how difficult it is to control access to people who have a right to be using systems in the first place.

The story says that the state Department of Public Health is investigating the situation.

Let's hope the system comes down hard on those that broke the law.

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/3/2020
Pen Testers Who Got Arrested Doing Their Jobs Tell All
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  8/5/2020
Browsers to Enforce Shorter Certificate Life Spans: What Businesses Should Know
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/30/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-17366
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-05
An issue was discovered in NLnet Labs Routinator 0.1.0 through 0.7.1. It allows remote attackers to bypass intended access restrictions or to cause a denial of service on dependent routing systems by strategically withholding RPKI Route Origin Authorisation ".roa" files or X509 Certificate...
CVE-2020-9036
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-05
Jeedom through 4.0.38 allows XSS.
CVE-2020-15127
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-05
In Contour ( Ingress controller for Kubernetes) before version 1.7.0, a bad actor can shut down all instances of Envoy, essentially killing the entire ingress data plane. GET requests to /shutdown on port 8090 of the Envoy pod initiate Envoy's shutdown procedure. The shutdown procedure includes flip...
CVE-2020-15132
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-05
In Sulu before versions 1.6.35, 2.0.10, and 2.1.1, when the "Forget password" feature on the login screen is used, Sulu asks the user for a username or email address. If the given string is not found, a response with a `400` error code is returned, along with a error message saying that th...
CVE-2020-7298
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-05
Unexpected behavior violation in McAfee Total Protection (MTP) prior to 16.0.R26 allows local users to turn off real time scanning via a specially crafted object making a specific function call.