Privacy?

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My husband and I spent a good part of our Saturday afternoon at our local hospital’s ER. One of the forms my husband had to sign was a Privacy Statement, detailing the hospital’s protocol on how they would protect my husband’s privacy. My husband was signing this while we were sitting in a room with a curtain partially closed, shielding us from the hallway outside and another curtain used as a partition from where another patient was sitting a few feet from us.

A physician’s assistant came to ask my husband why he came to the ER and other detailed questions about his medical history. Of course, the patient a few feet away could hear just about every word my husband was saying, if he chose to do so, including my husband’s first and last name, address, personal info, etc. I also couldn’t help noticing that ER workers were helping an elderly man on a gurney in the hallway. I could see most of what was happening through a gap in the curtain and could hear most of what they were talking about. I tried not to listen but I knew full well that they were giving him an EKG and that he had been feeling weird for most of the day and they were getting a room ready for him.

When the physician’s assistant was finished asking my husband questions, she went over to the patient on the other side of the curtain. We heard all about the fact that he had a herniated disk, some type of abscess on his back and was limping because of all this. We even heard that he did some type of construction work and was on Medical.

My husband eventually had X-rays and was informed of his condition, for anyone nearby to hear. I was just thankful that we hadn’t come in with something embarrassing or highly personal.

As we left the ER that afternoon, I was shaking my head to myself thinking, they make such a big deal out of patients signing their privacy policy when you don’t have any real privacy once they’re taking care of you. They’re trying to utilize as much space as possible by separating sitting areas by curtains and putting patients in the hallways, but they don’t seem very concerned that they’re asking you personal, medical information within earshot of other patients and the family members or friends who are with them. Privacy? I think not!

First Post: How to Start?

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Well I was sitting in front of the computer trying to decide what to write for my first post. Maybe I should talk about Spring Break – that’s topical. Families have kids either on Spring Break right now or they just had it.

Then one of my teenage sons came downstairs. “Mom, I need you to look at something.” He looked nervous and worried. He showed me a message that was locked on his iPhone after he downloaded a video off Google. It was a frightening message alluding to him having committed a crime and that he needed to buy something called a OneVanilla prepaid card and load it with $500 or all the stored material on his phone would be wiped clean in 24 hours.

What?!! My son had just become a victim of not only malware, but ransom ware!

Well now, this was something new! My husband and I looked up some information on the web and determined that this was spam ransom ware that had happened to others. One site advised victims to alert the authorities. We called our local police department and they let us know that the spammers probably couldn’t really do anything to our son’s phone and to call Apple to figure out how to unlock it. After being on hold for over 15 minutes, a very friendly Apple rep was able to walk us through the process of unlocking the phone.

This was a scary lesson. We used it to talk to both our sons, once again, about the danger of going onto dubious websites or downloading info from an unknown source. We also discussed the fact that ANYTHING you do digitally is out there and there is no way to completely get rid of it. You can delete things, you can clear your history on your device, but that information can still be brought up and found by someone.

Has anyone had a similar experience or any words of advice regarding keeping your digital devices safe?