Big Brother Award for health minister Edith Schippers


Health minister Edith Schippers has been given the Big Brother Award by privacy lobby group Bits of Freedom (BoF).

The minister was nominated for what BoF considers the ‘further erosion of professional medical confidentiality’.

Schippers is proposing to increase insurers’ access to patients’ electronic medical records in a bid to combat fraud. According to BoF the measure is also inappropriate because ‘this concerns fraud that for the greater part is not perpetrated by the clients’.

But according to research done by the NRC  insurers already have access to most patient data when there is a suspicion of fraud and therefore the new legislation does not constitute a further infringement of professional confidentiality.

It is the second time the health minister wins the ‘prize’.

‘Four years ago I was given the award for enabling a better information exchange between doctors so mistakes could be avoided. I’m still proud of that,’ the NRC quotes Schippers as saying.

‘This time around I am given the award for making it possible to check whether care has actually been given while safeguarding confidentiality. It is my mission to watch over the premiums people pay. Of that I am also proud,’ .

Rotterdam city council was given the Expert prize for its so-called ‘Rotterdam law’ which allows the council to refuse housing to people with a criminal past in certain neighbourhoods. The Felipe Rodriguez, or positive privacy prize, went to Open Whisper Systems which enables the encryption of WhatsApp messages.

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