The story is that someone close to the situation leaked details in violation of HIPAA on an internet message board.
And from a correctional facility, no less. The whole thing is a mess.
HIPAA would cover healthcare in prison. It wouldn't cover, say, what prison guards can talk about.
They may have other rules that indicate this is inappropriate, but HIPAA covers specific institutions, such as hospitals, medical personnel generally and health insurance. It doesn't actually cover anyone who ever learned anything about your health for some reason.
I generally had otherwise considered correctional facilities to be rather mum—but it's a little different here in Canada.
But this is only a HIPAA violation if it was leaked by medical personnel (or some other covered entity). At this time, we don't know who leaked it, so we don't know that HIPAA applies.
The article suggests it probably doesn't. It was apparently reviewed and found to be some third party, not EMS personnel.
In this case would a guard leaning into the cell, watching and listening to the revival or treatment attempts by EMT personnel and leaking that information approach these laws in anyway?
For instance if Epstein was living and being treated but on the verge of death and the EMT staff didn't make any attempts to prevent spectators who proceeded to leak the information—
who would be at fault in such a case? Or does that also fall outside of HIPAA in the US?
But I think you would probably have to pass a test of reasonableness. If you are getting medical treatment in a public space, there's only so much EMS can do to protect your privacy.
In practice, it's really hard to strictly comply with HIPAA and many institutions routinely violate it in small ways.
From what I gather, law enforcement, such as prison guards, have their own rules covering confidentiality. But I don't think a prison guard would be covered by HIPAA. A leak by a prison guard would have to be dealt with via other channels.
"Hey, we as medical professionals can't disclose your health info. But we have to keep these guards around for safety, who will hear everything, and they can say all they want!"
It's within the law for EMS to disclose to the prison staff "He's having a heart attack. We need to move him to a hospital to try to save his life." That would meet the minimum necessary standard to get the patient the care he needs. That disclosure is necessary to get him released from prison so he can be transported to the hospital.
However, if an EMS person was friends with one of the guards and spent a minute or two basically gossiping about the case to one of the guards as a form of socializing, that has nothing to do with getting the patient the care he needs and would be potentially a firing offense.
There shouldn't be a loophole because the guards should be covered by other rules. They just wouldn't be covered by HIPAA per se.
The fact that HIPAA doesn't apply to the guards doesn't mean the guards can do whatever they want. It just means that you would have to discipline them under a different rule or law.
(IANAL. This is not legal advice. It's just my best understanding of HIPAA having worked for an insurance company for a few years, during which time I received annual training for HIPAA.)
Why would you expect strict compliance with some dumb privacy law?
>And from a correctional facility, no less. The whole thing is a mess.
I don't really see the problem here. You can't expect adherence to the law, or even upholding of basic human rights, from a correctional facility in America. Just look at how migrants have been treated lately in "detention centers" (concentration camps).
As the other responder said, prison rape is treated as a hilarious joke in the US, and is condoned by correctional staff, so why would you expect adherence to HIPAA?
To be clear, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with anonymity on the internet. But anonymity on the internet, this story showing the value of that anonymity, and this relating the the mainstream media aren't at all related, at least in my mind. Mind clarifying?
As I see it, one can be anonymous on, say, twitter, which is still moderated, and therefore has (less) open organization of "far-right trolls and white nationalists". So its not clear to me what unique anonymity 4chan provides.
Twitter is an ultra short form platform that has already demonstrated political censorship. It also requires account verification through email and sometimes phone number. I don’t think it compares to 4chan for something like this.
This only works if you hold 4chan to be more reliable than the media. Given its history (think, like, QAnon) and love of trolling, this doesn't really work. This story was notable mostly because 4chan is notoriously unreliable.
> Twitter is an ultra short form platform that has already demonstrated political censorship.
Right, but you said that anonymity was important, not censorship. Is anonymity important, or is lack of censorship what matters? They're not the same thing.
They are both sources of information. One is corporate and politically approved, the other is a complete wild west. Totally different but worth comparing.
> Right, but you said that anonymity was important, not censorship. Is anonymity important, or is lack of censorship what matters? They're not the same thing.
Anonymity and censorship are related. People will self-censor if they can't be anonymous due to legal reasons, social shaming, financial reasons... Almost certainly the person that posted this on 4chan wouldn't if they had to attach their real name to it.
> This only works if you hold 4chan to be more reliable than the media. Given its history (think, like, QAnon) and love of trolling, this doesn't really work. This story was notable mostly because 4chan is notoriously unreliable.
IMO, it also works if you view them both as unreliable but in different ways. Them agreeing is a stronger signal of truth than either independently.
I keep up with current events mostly through a couple of very popular niche forums, each with a few hundred thousand members. The news posted there is biased, of course, but mostly it's a selection bias. I use it because my interests (if not necessarily my perspective) overlap with those forums' topics. When I find something that piques my interest, then I'll seek out other sources for that particular story.
I spend the majority of my "what's going on in the world?" time on ar15.com - but I don't assume that the stories posted there are accurate. I judge the reputation of the source from which it came, and if it's contentious, I'll purposefully look for alternative reporting.
The bottom line is that no news outlet, "mainstream" or not, is without bias. There are decisions made on what constitutes news and stories are editorialized both explicitly and implicitly.
There was a time when I spent a decent amount of time on 4chan, but the SNR is so low these days and the format is so hard to keep up with that I haven't bothered in years. Instead, I watch secondary sources who are watching the chans.
People don’t acknowledge the long-term costs (social or otherwise) of not making the right choice in this area. Spend too much time playing Sam Harris and now your wife is embarrassed to bring you to parties for fear of an outburst about Muslims. Read some other forum and now you’re fixated on weird parts of the news and an oddball narrative. Read an even worse forum and you’re dragged into political radicalization. These things happen everyday and we’re all at risk.
I use it for a purpose. I'm mostly interested in political news in a few areas, and those areas strongly coincide with what the userbase of that site are interested in. My positions on those areas differ in quite a few ways, but that's OK.
> Spend too much time playing Sam Harris and now your wife is embarrassed to bring you to parties for fear of an outburst about Muslims.
I'm much more at risk of embarrassing my wife through an outburst about the nature of taxation or the base immorality of government as a whole.
It's still unlikely though. She's at least as radical as I am, and a decade ago we decided to have children instead of a social life :)
Okay but how do you verify the validity of what’s posted on 4chan, a troll site of trolls trolling trolls with troll posts?
That said, when someone posts on 4chan that an event has occurred before news of that event has broken elsewhere, it's reasonable to compare the two. If the 4chan version is largely consistent but includes a couple of details that conflict with the "official" version, then I take that as an indication that maybe something was misreported. It would be folly to assume that the 4chan version was correct, even with the supporting evidence of it being first to break.
Most of those "discrepancies" are just that, and I don't believe are intentional misinformation. Consider a topic for which you're an expert. Any topic. Now look at media coverage of that topic - is it accurate? Of course not. Details are usually wrong, terms and concepts are used inappropriately, and sometimes an article's entire premise is absurd. It makes sense to me that if reporting is that bad for the things I know well enough to know it's bad, it's likely that bad for everything else; I just often don't know enough about the topic to realize it.
Mainstream media is 30% Fox, by viewership, with most traditional publishers remaining trustworthy in most reporting. 4chan/8chan ties in with Daily Caller types too often to be of any value 99.9% of the time.
> Pepe, the green frog that has become a mascot for right-wing internet trolls.
Pepe was an ultra popular meme on 4chan when this was originally ran in the news. It is unsurprising that alt-right folks on 4chan were using it, since everyone else was too. But since the news ran, people on social media had to stop using it, lest they be associated with politics they despise; ordinary people who read the news and don’t live on the internet would not know the difference.
I am not keen on 4chan culture but if I had to guess I’d assume that merely posting Pepe on 4chan doesn’t signify political beliefs unless it’s a specific variant with for example, a MAGA hat.
Obviously this is a pretty exploitable pattern.
It used to be the other way around -- content originating on chans would be repeated and posted elsewhere on the internet, and the content itself usually had nothing to do specifically with chan culture. As media began progressively segregating chan culture from the rest of the internet, content from chans signified that the poster was also a user of chans. As the image of chans have evolved from being a place where you can post whatever you want (within legal limits) to being somehow a bastion of a minority political ideology, so too has the content shifted from being relatable by most everyone who uses the internet to being reviled because of it's ties to the sites.
I would not be surprised if a news article came out postulating that Richard Stallman had now become a symbol of the "alt-right"
All this is about is a HIPPA violation but I’m not sure why HIPPA would apply when the person is dead. How can you wrong a dead person? Are the dead still guaranteed privacy rights? Seems a bit odd to me.
Not like there's a shortage of 4chan-style people among law enforcement and probably related first responders.
Buzzfeed is worried about HIPAA violations. Good thing to worry about in general, but perhaps this is not the best case to champion that cause...
They could look into the type of plea deal he got previously and why he got it. Or, say, comb through all the recently unsealed evidence and compile a spreadsheet of who flew to his island and how often. Now, that would make some good investigative reporting.
> Most stories about politics, or crime, or sports, unless they're evidence of some interesting new phenomenon. Videos of pratfalls or disasters, or cute animal pictures. If they'd cover it on TV news, it's probably off-topic.
Also because anybody can flag something for any arbitrary reason, regardless of what the rules say.
Regardless, glad to see this submission gaining steam and generating civil discussion as well.
I think it boils down to - can you reasonably catch illegal content being routed through your platform? 4chan, LiveLeak, WorldStar, ATS, and Twitter all have ways of doing this, 4chan's may be more crude because there are certain things you cannot do on 4chan because of the way the site is designed (for instance, webm's with sound are isolated to a few boards, so you lose a channel of communication when posting them outside of those boards, and you cannot upload documents directly except through labyrinthine methods, many users don't want to click a link and be taken to a different site so you lose that population, etc.), but it does the job to LE's standards. Many people hate it, but there is no benefit in taking it down because the culture would simply migrate elsewhere.
Why wouldn’t one of them have just broken the news? Frankly I don’t see how it’s worse for them to break the news to 4chan than for the prison to break it to ABC news. He was dead and they announced it. Why does everything have to be “official”?
The idea that regular folks can disseminate true information on their own is very disturbing to a lot of people.
Because institutions, like the Bureau of Prison, Fortune 500 companies or your county school district, are responsible for how information is distilled to the public. That is why almost all are concerned about their image and invest heavily into public relations.
If people leaked information all the time from those institutions, then a certain level trust will be lost and could be detrimental.