Nebraska Launches Large-Scale Digital Health Data Collection for Citizens

In an unprecedented move, the State of Nebraska has sparked concern over personal privacy by initiating the mass collection of digital health data on all its citizens, according to a report by Reclaim The Net. The state’s Health Information Technology (HIT) Board is centralizing health records in a way that has never been done before, raising alarm about the potential for a national digital ID system and the specter of surveillance.

The initiative, mandated by the Nebraska Legislature through law LB 411, requires all healthcare facilities to share their health records in this system in order to improve patient care and healthcare collaboration. However, facilities facing technical difficulties can apply for a waiver to be excused from joining the system.

Under the auspices of CyncHealth, the health data of over five million patients from 1,100 healthcare institutions are being compiled into a single, sprawling digital database. While some champion the initiative for its potential to improve medical outcomes, privacy advocates and concerned citizens are voicing grave concerns over the implications of broad data collection on personal information.

The HIT Board, established to govern the initiative, aims to improve data collection and disbursement and ensure compliance with privacy and security protections. However, some view it as an Orwellian instrument that poses a dramatic threat to civil liberties, given the rapid centralization of health records previously kept in silos.

Critics such as Stacey Skold, Ph.D., a board member of the Children’s Health Defense Nebraska Chapter, have expressed concern over the swift accumulation of health data, perceiving it as a move towards a digital ID and central bank digital currency (CBDC). The association of partner company CyncHealth with the CARIN Alliance, a global advocate for digital ID, and corporate giants like Google and Microsoft has further intensified fears among privacy advocates.

Prominent digital privacy expert Greg Glaser warned that the fast-paced digitization of health data in Nebraska could introduce an unprecedented level of control over individuals through digital IDs. The Nebraska government’s decision to establish a statewide information exchange and associated data harvesting has evoked widespread concerns about the potential for a national digital ID system and increased surveillance.

Overall, the mass collection of digital health data by the State of Nebraska has ignited a heated debate over personal privacy, civil liberties, and the potential implications for the state’s citizens. As the HIT Board continues to move forward with its mandate, concerns and debates over the potential implications of this unprecedented data collection are likely to persist.


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