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Security Bits — 28 April 2024

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Deep Dive — An Interesting Insight from the Kaiser Permanente ‘Data Breach’

It was big news this week when the large US not-for-profit healthcare organisation Kaiser Permanente reported what it described as a data breach affecting 13.4 million patients —….

Firstly, as data breaches go, this is very mild — their website had the normal tracking cookies just about every major news site has on it, and because they are a healthcare provider and a non-profit, they consider business-as-usual on the internet a data breach!

If you used the Kaiser Permanente website, then you were tracked by Google, Meta, etc., and they know you are a user of Kaiser Permanente’s services. I don’t live in the US, but if I did, this would make me more likely to choose them over a for-profit provider because:

  1. The use of the trackers was flagged, and remediated by entirely internal processes
  2. They chose to be very open about this very minor loss of privacy when they could easily done the absolute bare minimum required by law and moved on.

So, this story is not in these show notes because of what it says about Kaiser Permanente, it’s here because of what it says we, as a global community, now consider normal. Just about every major news site on the internet is invading our privacy more than this data breach. Even supposed stalwarts of liberal democracy, and supposedly ‘woke extremists’ like the New York Times are breaching our data worse than this each and every day!

I don’t know how this toxic business model ends, but I sure hope it does!

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