one with the goal of preventing future domestic
one of the current ethical dilemmas in the health care field is the balance between the privacy and accessibility of health information 1. HIPPA is a U.S. law that mandates security standards for protecting individuals’ health information 2. The majority of Protected Health Information (PHI) is now generated, stored, and transmitted electronically 2. Accordingly, this information is constantly under a range of threats from malicious hackers to unwitting insiders 2. Although health care providers may wish to closely protect this data through the application of information security principles, they are unwilling to sacrifice data accessibility 1. The more authentication and privilege restrictions that protect PHI, the harder it is for health care workers to access the information they need to efficiently carry out their jobs 1. If the data is too highly protected, care providers and insurance personnel may not be able to see relevant information, which could degrade a patient’s quality of care 1. However, if health information is too easily accessible, patients’ right to privacy will be violated 1. Many health care providers are still attempting to find the balance between these two concerns. One of the most common ethical debates today is the right to privacy versus national security. In the last decade, the U.S. government has passed laws, such as the Patriot Act and the Freedom Act, that give the government the right to monitor telecommunications to collect electronic data 3. These laws were primarily motivated by the terrorist attacks in 2001, with the goal of preventing future domestic and international terrorism 3. There has been an enormous amount of discussion about the ethical dilemma these policies pose. Many Americans are uncomfortable with the idea of their government monitoring them; they fear that their privacy will be compromised and that the information will potentially be used for unethical purposes. This school of thought believes that every citizen’s right to privacy from their government is more important than the potential national security consequences. The other side believes that national security is paramount; people should not be concerned about government monitoring if they aren’t criminals and have nothing to hide, and that the opportunity to prevent tragedies before they occur is worth a small loss of individual privacy. I personally don’t know where I stand in this debate, as I can see the issue from both sides and do not believe there is a clear-cut solution. However, I certainly think this problem will only increase in magnitude as our world is becoming more digital and terrorism shows no signs of stopping.