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Obamacare privacy compromised, will launch anyway

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 7th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The federal government is about to miss an important deadline that will affect your privacy. Data security tests for Obamacare information systems are behind schedule and potentially flawed systems could lead to security risks.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A report from the inspector general of the Department for Health and Human Services said that information technology security systems for Obamacare are not up to specification and the issue could lead to security flaws or delays.

A key part of Obamacare is the maintenance of an online database for all your medical records. In addition, consumers will be required to hand over sensitive personal information, such as social security numbers, to sign up for Obamacare plans. This information could be stolen by hackers if the networks aren't fully operational and tested.

The inspector general's report was quietly released last Friday and it revealed that tests scheduled for both May and June were missed and will only take place this week and next week. Those missed deadlines will cost time to fix flaws in the systems, should any be discovered.

Given the inherently complex nature of computer systems, there is likely to be a problem somewhere.

Obamacare systems need to be online and operational by October 1, when the insurance exchanges open for business. At that time, it is expected that a crush of people, previously unable to obtain insurance, will start flooding the market and straining systems.

They will also enter their data online creating fresh targets for hackers and identity thieves. All of their data will be channeled through a central hub for processing. That central hub may become the focal point of attack.

Federal law requires these systems be tested and safe from hackers, but with those tests now running two months or more behind schedule, there will be little time for programmers to fix any problems in the programs before Oct. 1. This means anyone signing up for Obamacare from the start may be taking a risk.

However, Obama has one ace in the hole. Despite the fact that the data hub through which all information must pass might be vulnerable to attack, Obama's chief information officer may order the hub to open anyway. All that individual must do is issue a "security authorization" which does not mean the system is secure, only that it may operate.

Rather than delay Obamacare further, the administration may opt to open the system, regardless of risks.

So as with the rest of Obamacare, you pay your money and take your chances.

Good luck.

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