Jamie Williams writes:
If you care about maintaining privacy over medical records and prescriptions, this was not a good year.
Both the California Supreme Court and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued disappointing decisions that declined to recognize a significant privacy interest in prescription records. In California, the state’s high court ruled that the Medical Board of California can rifle through records of prescriptions for controlled substances—used to treat anxiety, depression, pain, and insomnia—without notifying patients, obtaining a court order, or showing any suspicion of wrongdoing. The Ninth Circuit reversed on procedural grounds a good ruling out of Oregon, which found that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) couldn’t access sensitive prescription records without a warrant. Both courts punted to another day the question of whether the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement protects prescription records.
This precedent is concerning, especially in an era of digital pills that use stomach acid to generate electronic data about exactly when you take your medication.
Read more about these two cases on EFF.