There’s a new psychiatric medication on the market called Abilify MyCite. On its own, the drug Abilify is a partial dopamine agonist that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration since 2013 as an anti-psychotic medication. It’s generally prescribed to people with conditions such as such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, though questions remain about its effectiveness and the severity of its side effects. The “MyCite” pill, approved just last year, does something new. It contains a digital sensor that tracks whether a patient has ingested the drug, then shares that information with doctors, family, or whoever is programmed to receive it.
The use of Web technology to track medication has been emerging over the past decade or so. The technology has arrived with the usual benefits and risks of the Internet of Things: timely reminders, cool gadgets, vulnerability to hacking, loss of control over one’s data, state surveillance. When it comes to a pill like MyCite, America’s history of coercive psychiatric medication intensifies the risks. If the medical technology is simply used to help people remember to voluntarily take their pills, so much the better. Alas, that’s unlikely to be the case.
In order for AVs to work, they have to snag all kinds of data about the world around them: where precisely other objects are at any given moment and how fast they are moving. That data can seemingly be kept forever.
Under current law, all of that data can be obtained relatively easily by federal law enforcement. In other words, if you’re a privacy-minded citizen, your threat model just changed.
“Because of all of the sensors and data that is being captured—[AVs] are giant recording things,” Jaeger said. “Even if they’re not involved in an incident directly, they captured some of it. Maybe infrared data or something.”
This is profoundly different from older cars that lack such sensors and do not gather up such vast quantities of stored data. As such, Tesla’s terms and conditions—like those of other non-automotive tech companies, including Apple, Google, and more—say that the company will hand over data to law enforcement when legally compelled to do so. Waymo did not respond to Ars’ multiple queries for clarification its position, so how far that assistance will go is anyone’s guess.
Susan Eyman, a psychologist in Lawrence, Kansas, told a patient last year that the patient’s insurance company had requested her notes from their therapy sessions as part of an audit of her billings.
Eyman said the patient was shocked. The notes included intensely personal things about trauma he had told her in strict confidence. He asked if she could assure the confidentiality of the notes once Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas had them.
“And I said, ‘No, of course not,’ ” Eyman said. “Of course I can’t. If you send this information out there, it’s out there.”
Eyman said she refused to turn over the notes and was forced to pay back thousands in BCBS Kansas reimbursements.