Privacy 2.0 – ready for IoE (Internet of Everyone)

To err is human, but to really screw up takes technology – and given technology is created by humans, by definition it is flawed.  That’s why the ‘white hat’ hackers are hired by tech companies and IT departments – it’s an admission of guilt that their technology has holes in IT.  They know ‘black hat’ hackers will get in, no matter what preventative measures they take.

At best, security can only ever be a temporary preventative measure to delay any breaches of data until the hacker’s have found the inevitable flaws that always exist.  You have to remember that security is both the technology itself as well as the people charged with its use.  So, not only are there flaws in the technology, but also there’s the issue of the behaviour of the employee, either yours, or 3rd parties that you rely on.  And whilst training is again another preventative measure, it too is not exhaustive in filling the process holes.

Research published this week shows that security has risen to a staggering 15% of IT budgets.  Probably not including training.  Probably also not including contract reviews involving legal with 3rd parties, be they suppliers or partners who need access to your systems, whose processes and systems are flawed too.  And finally probably not including the Cloud provider’s uplift in security provisions.  And definitely not including all the time being spent by managers and executives worried about how secure their data is, what the resilience plans are, and how to make IT a value-add versus just a cost centre.

But let’s have a look at the risk you are taking.  TalkTalk, who were publicly embarrassed in the Press not once but twice last year, today announced that their profits halved.  The clean-up cost to them was some £30m.  Their CEO epically said re security, “the higher you build the (fire)walls, the longer the ladders the hackers use.”  Then there’s the fine handed down from the Information Commissioner’s Office: £500,000.  Who knows what law-suit damages and legal costs they are still expecting from disgruntled customers who had their Privacy undermined.  One also suspects that the cyber security insurance premiums have also risen.  The overall damage to their Brand is reflected in the 25% drop in share price.

So, what do we do about this thing called Privacy?  Well, actually, I agree that data protection measures are sensible.  And, moreover, it is worth having a data strategy.  Not all data should be treated equally – from sensitive to private, personal to operational data.  But be clear in your mind that yours is a customer and employee centric organisation – 96% all say their number one concern is online Privacy.  So, address that.  Privacy is when you are naked in the bathroom and someone can’t see through the hazed windows.  Security is checking that the sockets in the bathroom don’t contain a hidden camera.  You should have a plan for both when it comes to Privacy and private data.

Given a choice, I would prefer to have a pee in the ocean out of sight, rather than on the beach where everyone can see me.  The point about Privacy being that you are better removing your private data than trying to shield it in a public place.  The internet is the most public place on the planet.  This is the premise of any data strategy – how do you give employees and customers alike the ability to remain private?  How do you ensure Privacy is aligned with a customer-centric data strategy?  How do you run an organisation in today’s connected world whilst still respecting the Privacy of employees and customers?

Going through the process of transitioning from the cyber-insecure business you run today to an approach that builds trust back up again, yet allows all players in the supply chain to continue to seamlessly transact should not be daunting.  With a simple framework establishing the modus operandi with employees first and a sense of confidence in the outcome, it empowers your employees as a centre of excellence to champion the model with customers.  Early concerns can be ironed out with the first handful of employees as new processes are tested and adopted.  “Start small, grow fast” as Lou Gerstner, ex-CEO of IBM used to say when he showed how IBM was the first ever eBusiness, before taking the concept to the market.

Similarly, LifeBank has, by becoming a model Privacy enterprise internally, done the hard work for you already and developed a toolkit with the supporting Privacy platform to transform your organisation into a Privacy 2.0 business… one ready for the Internet of Everyone that respects the Privacy of each and every single one of us.  LifeBank already has templates for employees and customers both, across the major industries, and is multi-language.  With Privacy so high on the agenda today, why waste time in re-inventing the wheel?  Email today to get the ball rolling.

The Baroness?… or what Facebook wants?


Life is full of choices! – but in some areas of our daily “experiences” not so readily available, let alone possible.

The ever-ubiquitous world wide web affords us little, if any, protection from prying eyes, or connectivity, whether we like or want it.     One can therefore only be taken aback to see the Chairman and CEO of Facebook addressing a meeting of his company (above) with the slogan  behind him ” Give everyone the power to share anything with anyone” (emphasis added).    Is that what we all really want?

A sober assessment of the internet, and what it means to, and how it impacts on, people, is probably best put by Baroness Neville-Rolfe (UK Minister for Data Protection) when addressing techUK’s Conference on the Great Data Frontier:

“I’d like to start by taking a moment to consider ‘data protection’ as a concept. ‘Data’ represents units of information that pass through systems; and ‘protection’ refers to the technical or procedural means by which that information is protected. Strictly speaking, this is accurate. This is the lens through which organisations often view data protection issues. They have been seen first and foremost as technology or IT issues.

I see data protection through a different lens. The ‘data’ element represents people. Individuals with personal lives, reputations, and livelihoods increasingly enmeshed with the technology we rely on through the data they share. If organisations misuse or lose this data they are breaching not only people’s rights, they are invading their privacy. They risk damaging people’s wellbeing not just data sets.

In the correspondence I receive as a Minister, people don’t talk about breaches and technology failures, they talk about their distress, fear, anger and an erosion of trust. Technology shouldn’t therefore be the starting point for a response. ‘Protection’ should be about respect for individuals and the personal information they share in good faith. That should shift the focus in the board room from a techie issue to a reputational and commercial one.”

Perhaps one of the Baronesses fellow Cabinet Ministers ought to have paid attention to the sage words of the Baroness for now comes news that the British NHS, (National Health Service)  has shared some 1.6 million medical records with Google:

“The NHS has given the medical records of 1.6 million patients to Google, it has been revealed.

The records have been shared with Google as part of a data-sharing agreement between the technology giant and the NHS, revealed by The New Scientist.

The records relate to patients of three London hospitals which form the Royal Free Trust; Barnet, Chase Farm and Royal Free Hospital collected over the course of the last five years. An estimated 1.6 million patients attend the hospitals every year.

Google says it intends to use the data as part of its group DeepMind to develop a health app which can help recognise kidney injury.”

Were any of those 1.6 million NHS patients ever asked for their permission for their medical data to be provided to Google?    Most certainly not!     So, here we have a government, in breach of its own privacy laws, providing data to a third party (an American company to boot) about its citizens.   Mind-boggling!

Having probably been concerned about the above, reflect on this information in the piece in The Independent newspaper revealing the NHS data-sharing agreement with Google:


“Google has been criticised in recent times for perceived privacy breaches due to the amount of data which it holds on individuals. In 2014, 38 US states sued Google when it was alleged that the cars with which the company takes Google Street View photographs had also been collecting data from computers inside the homes they drove past.

The company has also been accused of sifting through information on messages sent by users through its system to sell the byproducts to advertisers and not making it sufficiently clear to customers that it is able to read wifi passwords.”

What is equally troubling is that there has probably been scant regard or a full understanding by people in business that they must ensure the integrity of their systems – and if records and information of clients or their own company, are out there on the cloud, that it is secured against being hacked – assuming that is really possible.   Witness the following as reported by The Register:

“A health trust that exposed the private details of 6,574 members of staff on its website has been fined £185,000 by UK data privacy watchdogs.

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust inadvertently published workers’ confidential data including their National Insurance number, date of birth, religious beliefs and sexual orientation in March 2014. The Trust failed to notice its mistake for 10 months. Even after the penny dropped it took a further five months to alert affected staff, who had been left at heightened risk of identity theft and other scams as a result of their employers’s data handling incompetence.

Stephen Eckersley, head of enforcement at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), commented: “This trust played fast and loose with the highly sensitive and private information that was entrusted to them. It seems they ignored their duty to put rules in place to protect staff who deliver hospital services to others.

“Any measures taken to protect this information from reaching the public domain were woefully inadequate or non-existent. The fact that the error went unnoticed for so long beggars belief,” he added.”

We must have reached the tipping point when all of this has to be stopped.   All too regrettably, the individual is powerless to preserve their privacy and personal information, especially when even a government is privy to data-sharing.

Perhaps the last word should go to NomadSquire:

“The issue in today’s online world-wide-web is that it is not just individuals living in your local community that you have to worry about. The internet is a global village. Whereas you might have had the occasional traveller passing your home, people that were likely to compromise your privacy at home would normally come from the local community.   However, given the nature of the networked cloud, you now will have visitors from every corner of the earth being interested in your personal life. That’s why privacy is so important”

One significant step the individual can take to counter this accessing of personal information, is to adopt  LifeBank and HealthBank as part of their life.   The user retains complete and unfettered control not only of the data key itself but the vital personal data (fully encrypted) on it.


The Hacking Economy

First it was nation states that controlled the economy.  Then it was multinational corporations that weighed in.  Now it’s hackers.  As individuals, we have tried to construct communities that protect our joint self-interest – we created authorities to govern (& police), and we established enterprises to trade… all with a wishful element of control.  Now, the very structures we built are at the beck and call of a new economy, and with it come a host of rising costs in keeping some semblance of stability in the original organisations we needed to establish.  We put in IT across a worldwide web to drive efficiencies that would make us all richer.

Nobody saw the (then) future threat of today’s Hacking Economy.  The upshot?  Our self-interests are corroding away.  At the heart of our concerns is the very erosion of our Privacy.  Every time there is now a breach of these IT systems over the internet, our private data is being exploited for the gains of the hackers.  The communities we built are being destroyed.  It is up to us as individuals to start to make amends both privately as well as in the organisations in which we work to safeguard the structures we have so successfully built.  And it starts with protecting our own private data.  But this cannot be done using security – at best, this is only a temporary preventative deterrent.

There are upsides to the Hacking Economy, not just if you are a hacker.  If you are a major player in IT security, no doubt the events of the past 12 months will have proven a major opportunity to sell your wares – according to Symantec, a conservative estimate of 500,000,000 records were hacked last year.  So, pushing ever more and increasingly expensive security solutions is making a lot of companies, sales reps, and shareholders a good return.  Especially, when there are likely to be around 1 billion records stolen this year.

The costs though of the Hacking Economy are the real worry.  The problem with spending money on security is that it does not work… as the CEO of TalkTalk put it, after been hacked twice in 2015 and spending £30m on security, “the higher we build the firewalls, the longer the ladders the hackers are using.”  Not only that, TalkTalk also suffered a 25-30% loss in share price, as nearly 100,000 customers walked out the door.  With the recent loss by Travelers Insurance in their Class Action lawsuit for a data breach on a US hospital in 2013, either premiums to cover data breaches will go up, or the policies will be withdrawn altogether – either way the cost of legal professionals and damages will be passed on to consumers.  Then there’s the cost that Anthem experienced in managing the fallout of their 80m records hacking – some $250m.  All these costs coming the way of consumers.

Finally, the Hacking Economy is best for hackers themselves.  Education, finance, and health records are selling for up to $2,000 each on the black market – the richer the record, the higher the price the record commands… so to enrich a record, hackers are also now targeting accountants, lawyers, and every individual’s PC and mobile device, as well as purchasing marketing lists from ‘legitimate’ providers (like social media tech giants – data we happily “sign-up to sharing”), all of which provides a steady stream of revenue in very well organised operations with call-centres.  Put on top of that the ransomware demands, and the total income for the Hacking Economy is probably conservatively somewhere near $1 trillion p.a. already.

Importantly, therefore, is the following quote from Symantec: “Safeguard your personal data: The information you share online put you at risk for social engineered attacks.  Limit the amount of personal information you share on social networks and online, including login information, birth dates and pet names.”  This is where platforms like LifeBank come into their own.  LifeBank removes all our private data from these connected IT internet systems, which will not only protect our data away from potential hackers, but protects the very essence of Privacy itself.

For more details, daily updates and insights, follow @NomadSquire on Twitter, and read our scoop.It posts as well as our blog

Houston…..We have a problem!

“Well, it’s a huge problem. It’s a global problem and it’s a growing problem.

You’re talking about attacks from organised crime, from state sponsored, from non-state sponsored. This is a very pervasive problem for businesses in terms of threats to information, threats to the security of financial information.”

Words – about cyber security – spoken by none other than the Chief Executive of Australia’s Business Council when being interviewed last Thursday on ABC Radio National’s AM (national) program.

Just reflect on where we all have provided personal details and information and where it is stored in one form or another:

  • banking and credit card details – be it at a bank, store or hotel or airline just to name a few examples
  • tax records  – at the Tax Office or the accountant
  • details of life and health insurances
  • the wealth or financial advisor
  • wills and powers of attorney at the lawyer’s office
  • medical records – with a health insurer, hospital, medico or pharmacist
  • all manner of personal details at a government or local authority, utility’s provider or online service or product seller
  • what we ourselves put on social media a la Facebook.

Problem is that we have absolutely no control of how the information that is provided by us is safeguarded  and secured – yes, safeguard and secured! – by the entity to whom we have provided it all, being trusting in doing so.

Of course, algorithms are another dimension to all of this, as Laurie Penny, writes in a piece, Facebook Absolutism, in Overland:

“Today the algorithm learnt more about me. It learnt that I’m worried about my weight. I’m considering purchasing an extra set of winter socks. I’m considering also purchasing another black band T-shirt. I’m concerned about how the British Home Office treats asylum seekers. I’m concerned about the long-term health effects of nicotine gum. I’m a single white woman in my late twenties on a modest salary. It knows that I liked a video of a baby bulldog tearing up toilet paper, that I liked a picture of my baby sister trying to eat spaghetti twenty years ago, that I liked a boy who was no good for me.”

Whilst providers of the Cloud-based facility – as also software manufacturers – assiduously push companies to go onto the Cloud, we, the consumer are ever increasingly exposed to not only to the likes of identity theft, but our most intimate and personal details becoming public to the world at large.

If sceptical about the threat we all face, then this report “Health Care Industry Most Vulnerable to Data Breaches“from eWeek should provide more than discomfort to the sceptic:

“With more and more patient information being stored electronically, health care organizations have become targets just as the need for more stringent and sophisticated data security becomes apparent.

Incidents relating to phishing, hacking and malware were the cause of 31 percent of data security incidents during 2015, revealing a shift from 2014 when human error was the leading cause, according to a new report.”


“The health care industry (23 percent) was affected more than any other. Rounding out the top three are financial services (18 percent) and education (16 percent).”

Whilst it is all very  well that directors of corporations are, slowly, becoming aware of the risks associated with cyber security – and insurers are providing insurance cover to a company where there has been a breach of cyber security – but what the public needs to ask is how all of that helps them once the details about themselves (to the extent, for example, of identity theft) are at large out there.    It is an area no one seems to want to really address…..with what very much looks like a head in the sand approach!    It is hard to see corporations, who have invested so much in utilising the cloud for the storage of all manner of information, readily reversing the course they have now so happily embraced.

The individual does have an option readily available to him or her!   LifeBank and HeathBank – a secure encrypted data key totally off the internet which is in the hands of the user  who has full and unfettered control of it.  The user has all his or her critically important information on that data key away from prying eyes and not susceptible to being hacked.    It is isn’t a call to arms, but the lone individual out there has the opportunity to become master / mistress of his or her own information.






















Give me old-fashioned Privacy again!

When you put net curtains up over your windows at home, you are maintaining some semblance of privacy. This is regardless of whether you have locked your door or not…. security having nothing to do with privacy.   Now, open your curtains – do you want folk outside to see that you have a diamond necklace? Or do you want any visitors to see it when they’re invited in? No. So what do you do? You hide it; you keep it secret, perhaps, putting it in a drawer. Secrecy, like security, is also a fundamentally different notion to privacy.

If you want to keep people out of your home so that those things that you want to keep private remain private, then as well as curtains, you can put locks on the doors and windows, which will serve the dual purpose of also keeping your secrets secret. It provides a deterrent to any unauthorised access to your home. This is as true at home as it is in your place of work.

Now imagine your home is your computer or your smart phone, or your office or shop is your computer server. Sure, add some security as a deterrent against any unauthorised access. Just remember, in the same way that someone who is really determined to break the window of your home or office to get in, whatever security you use in your technology is no guarantee that to stopping access to the an equally determined infiltrator.   The locked doors and windows and the security in the technology all serve to make someone hopefully chose an easier target without locks or security.

Your home with a net curtain is pretty private. Similarly your computer or server with a firewall is pretty private. Both stop people seeing inside. The firewall is supposed to keep your data private (yes, it serves other purposes too, but one core aspect is it’s a privacy shield). It’s only when someone breaks in that the net curtain is pulled down or the firewall is disabled that the perpetrator can opt to then re-arrange matters, or steal whatever or, perhaps, just walk away – either way, an unauthorised person has now been inside your house or your computer, and your privacy has been compromised.

In the same way as you hide your necklace, because it’s a secret, then you can equally encrypt any data sitting on your smart phone, computer, or server, so it remains secret. Then if somebody does look through your window or is invited into your house or computer, they won’t be able to see your secret stuff. In the case of puling back the net curtain or inviting someone in, this is a choice that you have made about your own privacy. They can see in the hallway, but perhaps not in the bedroom.   They can see one section of your computer, but perhaps not other sections of your data.

The issue in today’s online world-wide-web is that it is not just individuals living in your local community that you have to worry about. The internet is a global village. Whereas you might have had the occasional traveller passing your home, people that were likely to compromise your privacy at home would normally come from the local community.   However, given the nature of the networked cloud, you now will have visitors from every corner of the earth being interested in your personal life. That’s why privacy is so important.

That’s why LifeBank exists. Firstly, it allows you put up a net-curtain. It is also encrypted, so allows you to keep secret what you want to keep secret. And because it is not on the cloud, it once again restricts only the local community or the occasional passer-by to come within any reasonable proximity. This is its strongest security feature – it’s physical, and you would have to know what you were looking for and where it is before it could come anything close to having your privacy compromised.

And the beauty about LifeBank is that, just like at home, you can invite in chosen guests, but restrict which rooms they visit. LifeBank puts the control back in your hands. So, if you are a commercial organisation, worried about breaching data protection regulation when a pracker (a hacker intent on stealing private data that undermines privacy) breaks in, you can simply take customer or employee personal data off your servers, and give it back with the LifeBank platform to the owners, who are then accountable for it themselves. No risk of any breach anymore.

So, LifeBank provides you the ideal capability to maintain your privacy, whilst having the strongest security, and the ability to hide whatever secrets you have – and you decide when, how much data, and with whom you wish to share it. LifeBank – take back control of your privacy again.


“In an attempt to arrive at the truth, I have applied everywhere for information but in scarcely an instance have I been able to obtain hospital records fit for any purpose of comparison. If they could be obtained, they would enable us to answer many questions. They would show subscribers how their money was being spent, what amount of good was really being done with it or whether the money was not doing mischief rather than good.” – Florence Nightingale.

It’s bad enough that what is stored out there on the cloud is almost guaranteed to be hacked – and fingers crossed that the result for us is not identity theft or a variety of personal details about oneself not being “out there” in the public arena – but when it comes to our medical care, systems, such as between medicos and hospitals, hospital to hospital or even internally in a hospital,  just don’t cut the mustard.

The Australian Financial Review in a piece relating medical care could not have put it more bluntly:

We bank, shop, book taxis and airplanes, read the news, take pictures, post them on social media, and listen to music and radio on our smartphones.

But for most people, when it comes to seeing a doctor or getting a blood test, we dial the clock back 20 years. We call the GP’s receptionist, make an appointment, thumb through old copies of New Idea or Men’s Health, and just wait.

We emerge with pieces of paper pointing us towards pharmacists, pathologists, allied health professionals and medical specialists. Then we visit them to buy medicines or call them to arrange appointments, go through the whole time-consuming process again and pay through separate billing systems.

As for public hospitals, Rohan Mead, chief executive of health insurer Australian Unity, reckons Florence Nightingale would be at home after an hour of familiarisation.

It can be said with almost 100% certainty that what is described, above, as being the situation in Australia, applies just about everywhere else around the world.

But in an ever-more complicated world – and with all of us being time-poor and often confounded by all manner of things we need to be across and contend with – we need to look to third parties, or some means, to help us.     There are already people (usually with a nursing or allied background) who offer a navigator-type service to assist their clients work their way through the labyrinth of getting to the right medico, hospital, treatment centre, etc.     Now we read of a wealth mentor in Australia, whose business is called The Wealth Tutor, assisting her clients in strategies around budgeting and goal planning.

Of course there are always lawyers readily available to address issues such as there being a will in place, relevant powers of attorney being done, end of life plans committed to paper  and not to forget estate planning.

All too often lawyers, wealth managers, accountants, finance professionals, retirement home managements and other professionals are all working in silos.   One doesn’t really know what the other has done and put in place.   Add to that children of aging parents not knowing anything about their parent’s affairs, let alone their plans for the future, and a costly and messy situation, perhaps presently, but certainly down the track, is almost a certainty.

To the list of people available to provide a service to fill a need (and one growing segment is that of professional organizers) is an aging life care consultant – as explained in a piece  “The Difficult, Delicate Untangling of Our Parents’ Financial Lives” in The Wall Street Journal:

“Sometimes it is worth it to get outside help: When you are dealing with life’s normal issues with your own children, setting up a parent’s medical-rehab appointments and answering the latest phone call about a parent who has fallen, it can be overwhelming to also be sorting through Medicare forms that you’ve never seen before.

So, hiring a social worker known as a geriatric consultant, if it’s in your budget, can help you keep your sanity, including filling out forms and knowing what rehab facilities make sense in your city. The more-trendy term for these advisers is “aging life care consultant.”

One might readily exclaim that it is all very good and nice suggesting engaging a variety of people to assist, support or navigate the medical minefield, the issues surrounding aging parents – and who of the sandwich generation isn’t confronted by the problem?- or trying to marshal our financial and other personal affairs.  They all cost money.

Whilst apps on mobile devices and cloud-based services via our computers go some way in providing some assistance, at a modest cost, in helping us to meet the challenges of somehow or other having a record of things, however imperfect – yet, leaving one with no assurance, let alone any comfort, in knowing the integrity of the “system” (that is, the cloud) our personal details safe and secure – LifeBank and HealthBank goes a long way in providing the user, and third parties with the requisite permissions, with immediate access to and the ability to manage the data on the data key.    What ought to propel use of LifeBank or HealthBank is that that the data key is fully encrypted and it is the user – the holder of the data key who is in control of the data key 24/7 and the vital information on it.




No, Nie, Never…


First they came for knowledge, but I did not speak out… Because I was not knowledge.

Then they came for information, but I did not speak out… Because I was not information.

Then they came for data, but I did not speak out… Because I was not data.

Then they came for privacy… And there was nothing left to speak for privacy.

                                                Sandy Gilchrist, LifeBank (2016)

 In Never, the point is that actually I am data. In the physical world, all the facets that describe my life are recognised and recalled by individuals who encounter those facets – there is a heavy reliance on memory and connections that make sense of those facets in our individual and collective minds. This reliance provides a natural safety net with regards to my privacy, as, in general, I am an otherwise insignificant presence to 99.9999% of the world’s population. However, in the online world, every piece of datum leaves a digital footprint, an eternal memory, that when connected with other data makes up an important jigsaw piece in the world of information.

In Never, “I am not information” continues the irony because, by definition, data makes up information. Similarly, this is also then true for knowledge, because it is the process of intelligent socialisation of and inquisitive probing of available information that establishes knowledge. So, the eternal data I leave behind today forever offers the possibility to those with the capability and capacity to be knowledgeable about every aspect of me and my life.

Any semblance of privacy I may have thought might exist in the physical world ceases to survive the moment I opt to leave one iota of datum online, and the more data I share, the less privacy I have. Putting that into context, we are collectively exponentially multiplying the pool of online data globally by significant factors on a daily basis, which in turn translates into a lot of information and knowledge (in no small part due to the growth of online users, with their associated data deposits), but worryingly this translates into an increasingly deep fissure in the bedrock of our privacy. The amount of my online data then is inversely proportional to the privacy I enjoy.

As LifeBank coined, “if data is the new currency, privacy is the new premium.” Privacy, we are reminded, is worth paying for, and the source of our privacy starts by collecting and protecting our data.

LifeBank… we are speaking out.


First they came for wisdom, but I did not speak out… Because I was not wise.

Then they came for knowledge, but I did not speak out… Because I knew nothing.

Then they came for information, but I did not speak out… Because I was not informed.

Then they came for data… And I had already given everything.

                                                Sandy Gilchrist, LifeBank (2016)

 In Privacy, the emphasis is instead on meMe… the collective, the individual – regarding:

  • our corporate and singular responsibility to protect our shared and separate privacy;
  • our liability, severally and jointly, to defend each other’s unique privacy; and
  • our accountability for own data, that when others exploit it for their own information, knowledge and wisdom, defines the extent to which our privacy is being corroded.

Specifically, Privacy states the obvious – “I was not informed” / “I knew nothing” / “I was not wise” – in that our ignorance of the impact of our sharing of data is entirely our fault. Not realising that “I had already given everything” puts the onus on our own shoulders to do something about it, as per “then they came for data” refers to the progression of time, where it is paramount to act before it is already too late. The consequence of ignoring our apathetic inaction being that we will end up with no privacy.

LifeBank… speak out!

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LifeBank twice acknowledges the inspiration of Martin Niemöller’s publication of his “First they came…” speech regarding our poems “Never” – the German word “nie” (that makes up the first syllable of Niemöller’s surname) meaning “never” in English – and “Privacy”, the latter subsuming Niemöllers message reflecting the guilt of the collective to counter apathy.

The way to happiness and peace of mind…..

Who would have thought that a bookthe life-changing magic of tidying up – the Japanese art of decluttering and organising” written by a Japanese woman on how to be tidy – and find happiness, contentment, and even joy, in the process – would turn out to be runaway best seller.   Yes, the “art” of decluttering and finding contentment is said to be no further away than following the advice of the author of the book.

But the question we need to ask ourselves is that where decluttering and finding happiness, contentment and peace of mind ends?    Only related to our homes?   For instance, although by no means certain to be up-to-date, let alone securely stored somewhere (office or on the cloud), we entrust people like financial advisors to have put together, and be maintaining, a record of our financial position.    We hope that our medical records are also up-to-date, somewhere, and readily accessible.

We are all captive to an ever-busier life and keeping up with a changing world around us.   The issue confronting us is to keep abreast of what is happening and with change to adapt to it.    Bill Gates put it this way:

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next 2 years and underestimate the change which will occur in the next 10 years.    Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction”.

Easier said than done one might say!    Then again, as much as we try to declutter our homes we tend to neglect other aspects of our lives – which are equally important, if not even more s0 – than ensuring our laundry is properly folded and our cupboards duly   organised and arranged, etc. etc.    If one were to be injured or out of circulation  for whatever reason, amongst other things, who would have our medical history readily available, know what bank accounts and health insurance we have – and no less importantly how to access them – and what is to happen to our pets?

There can be no better assured way of having peace of mind that we, ourselves, have taken steps to ensured that we have at the very least have gathered together and recorded, for that “rainy day” our medical details.      Reflect on the experience of Steven Keating, a 26-year-old doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab as reported in “The Healing Power of of your Own Medical Records” in The New York Times:

“A scan of his brain eight years ago revealed a slight abnormality — nothing to worry about, he was told, but worth monitoring. And monitor he did, reading and studying about brain structure, function and wayward cells, and obtaining a follow-up scan in 2010, which showed no trouble.

But he knew from his research that his abnormality was near the brain’s olfactory center. So when he started smelling whiffs of vinegar last summer, he suspected they might be “smell seizures.”

He pushed doctors to conduct an M.R.I., and three weeks later, surgeons in Boston removed a cancerous tumor the size of a tennis ball from his brain.At every stage, Mr. Keating, a 26-year-old doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, has pushed and prodded to get his medical information, collecting an estimated 70 gigabytes of his own patient data by now. His case points to what medical experts say could be gained if patients had full and easier access to their medical information. Better-informed patients, they say, are more likely to take better care of themselves, comply with prescription drug regimens and even detect early-warning signals of illness, as Mr. Keating did.

“Today he is a big exception, but he is also a glimpse of what people will want: more and more information,” said Dr. David W. Bates, chief innovation officer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.”

HealthBank – a data key (the size of a credit card or a small usb attachable to a key ring) which records all medical details about oneself – is the straight-forward answer for all of us.  Easy to use as typing an email and allowing for medical reports and the like to be scanned in, it provides the readily accessible medical data we all know we will be called on to access and provide.

Just about everywhere in the world, governments have tried to introduce a universal medical data system, only to see it not work.     Systems simply cannot cope with all the data, leaving the poor patient at the mercy of a hit-and-miss record-keeping process.

If one was in any doubt that we should collect and protect our own medical data – and in the process find joy, contentment and peace of mind! – the last word should go to 2 professors at Harvard in a recent editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine as reported by medable:

“A patient-controlled health record infrastructure cansupport the development of highly desirable healthsystem qualities,” the authors write. “First, it allows apatient to effectively become a health information exchange of one: as data accumulate in a patient-controlled repository, a complete picture of the patient emerges. If patients can obtain their data wherever they go, they can share them with physicians as needed — rather than vice versa. We believe the Meaningful Use program would have been more successful if it had rewarded clinicians for storing data in patient-controlled repositories rather than in EHRs that fragment data across the health care system.” 

Mandl and Kohane conclude their piece with a call to action, saying that the government, healthcare providers, and the research community all need to work together to facilitate this sea change from hospital- based portals to patient-based personal health”


When private means private

For generations, the bankers to the super-rich have been entrusted with a very important role – to maintain a cloak of privacy around their ‘Private Wealth’ clients.  Indeed, banks today also make a reasonable attempt to do the same for all their customers, no matter how much of a financial ‘VIP‘ they are.  The purpose has always been clear: to protect their assets.  What assets?  Everything from their investments to their name and address.  Who from?  Everybody.  It is the right of the individual after all to determine if someone needs to know particular information.

The same is true for doctors, who go to great pains to protect doctor-patient confidentiality.  Similarly, confidentiality encompasses the concept of privacy – nobody wants their ailments being gossiped about, the operative words being “their” and “ailments“.  It’s personal to them.  It’s confidential to them.  It’s private to them.  Whatever ‘it’ (the ailment) is.  Again, who is this information being kept confidential from?  Everybody.  And again, it is the right of the individual to determine if someone needs to know particular information.

In these modern times, who can see our private and confidential information, whether that be health and / or wealth?  Everybody.  Whereas the old private records would have been paper-based that very few trusted professionals had access to, all our private data is stored on servers that are all connected together to form the internet.  This makes things far more efficient for bankers and doctors, who need to be more efficient to get more done and to save more money.  These systems that hold our data can be accessed by four main categories:

  1. an extended team of professionals who work within the organisation that owns the database, including not just your personal doctor or banker, but also all the rest of the staff… when these people access your files for their own ends, it is known as fraud
  2. anyone with access to the interconnected web of servers we otherwise today also refer to as the Cloud that connects suppliers to providers to customers (and vice-versa), who knows the tricks to break beyond entry barriers – recent examples include 12 year old surfers, foreign governments, competing companies, extortionists… when these people access your files for their own ends, it is known as hacking
  3. any government body with legitimate approval under their law to monitor your online transactions or interrogate your email – as a nice example, we are seeing Apple being dragged through the US legal process by the FBI at the moment, and we see many examples where governments are expecting a company to be a government agent or deputy in enforcing the law (which is not the core business of that company)… when these people access your files for their own ends, it is known as legal or lawful interception
  4. any organisation who provides you with an online service, be it free or paid for – for example, Google giving your free email, or BMW asking you to provide your contact details ‘for support purposes’ … when these people access your files for their own ends, it is known as commerce

The point about each of these categories is “for their own ends“.  Whatever these groups are accessing is private and confidential information.  It is certainly notfor your end“.  If you wanted to share this information, I am sure you would have given permission if asked for the requestor to access whatever it was that you didn’t need to hide, i.e. keeping private those things about your life that you decide to keep private.

Now, for some strange reason, encryption seems to be the answer to the privacy prayers.  Has nobody studied history at school?  Lessons learned in every organisation surely teaches the leaders that every time security is improved, it is almost immediately compromised.  Then more money is spent, and the cycle continues.  If it is a company that suffers this intrusion, existing customers can expect to discontinue their custom, and shareholders can expect to see their investment spiralling downwards.

The good news is that LifeBank uniquely fixes the privacy problem for us all.  It means that hospitals with electronic medical records (EMR) systems no longer have to try to connect their systems to doctors surgeries, pharmacists, or foreign clinics.  This is because LifeBank gives us the ability to carry our own personal medical records (PMR) on our person, and give it to the medical professional who needs it, when it is needed.  And the benefit for our banker?  It means that they no longer have to spend huge amounts of money on secure, encrypted systems, only to see their customers take their business elsewhere, as shareholders regret their investments.  It also means that the bank becomes compliant with regulations around storing data, because LifeBank gives the banker the ability to see only the information that we want to show them.  But most importantly, to you and me, LifeBank means that our information, our data, and all of our documentation, all remains private.

Organisations who are giving their patients and clients LifeBank are suddenly realising that by addressing their number one concern – that of privacy – then those organisations are truly showing themselves to care and have their customers’ best interests at heart, because they rocket up the ‘most trusted’ list.  Those organisations who fail to address this major concern can expect to continue to enjoy their comeuppance.  We all have a choice.  I chose privacy.  I chose LifeBank.

$59 trillion later……

In February 2015 PwC asserted that $41 trillion would be transferred between generations in the next 50 years.  One suspects that that could be much more given an ever-growing middle class in many countries around the globe.    In fact, in 2014 the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy (CWP) of Boston College calculated that the much vaunted $41 trillion figure was actually $59 trillion (see here).

What the prospective transference raises is the ability of the forthcoming transferor to collect, protect and secure his or her fortune and valuable assets, of whatever description, before it is ever passed on.    How is that all going to happen? Who is going to be “involved” in the orderly transference? How is it going to be possible to establish what there is to transfer and where it is to be found?
The collection and protection of one’s personal information – in all of its manifestations – is increasingly more important, if for no other reason than to protect oneself from identity theft.
“Identity fraud is a type of fraud that involves the theft of your personal information including your name, date of birth, address and other details. Fraudsters then use this information, for example, to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, start an illegal business or apply for a passport. Your details may also be used to commit serious crimes, such as money laundering and even terrorist acts.

Identity thieves are after everything that contains your personal information: bank and credit card statements, bills, driver’s licence, passport, investment reports, superannuation records, storage media such as CDs and USB devices, and any documents that contain your tax file number.”

MoneySmart – Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Almost every commercial and government agency with whom one has contact – think banks, insurance companies, utility supplier, medicos, hospitals, government departments, travel agency, hotel and car rentals, etc. etc. – will in one way or another have captured significant details about oneself.   What assurance do we have that that information is secure? Absolutely none, despite what they might claim how they go to whatever lengths to secure their systems

“Cybersecurity has become one of the CEO’s biggest worries, according to several surveys. Companies are investing billions in protecting their systems and training their employees. The worldwide cybersecurity market has been estimated at $77 billion in 2015 and will be $170 billion by 2020. However, the field has mostly focused on protecting systems from vulnerabilities in software and hardware. Today’s threats are no longer confined to those two places. As organizations have come to rely more and more on data-driven algorithms, risks are increasingly present in the data itself.”

Harvard Business Review: “Your Algorithms Are Not Safe from Hackers“.

One easy and straight-forward way of ensuring – as far as that is possible – that the least amount of one’s personal details are “out there”, and then, most likely on the ubiquitous cloud, is to take control of it oneself, and in effect, become the keeper of and gatekeeper to third parties gaining access to one’s private information. The LifeBank platform is one such secure vehicle. It collects and protects one’s data and it is the user who controls how much, and to whom, any details about oneself is available, whoever they might be.

There is also another dimension to collecting and protecting one’s personal details. Often not even mentioned in those cautioning one to try and avoid being caught in identity theft, or just plain theft, of whatever details on file at some third party such as a bank, etc. are our medical details and records.

As things stand now, health-related systems wherever introduced have simply not worked or are only available to a relatively small percentage of the community. First of all systems just can’t cope with all the data. Then, as soon as some inroads are made in collating the information, along comes some new piece of technology which doesn’t “work” with the existing ones. Add into that mix the breakdown of technology and pieces of technology which already don’t “talk to one another” and you have the makings of problems. Patient records are not available in a timely manner and possibly not even up to date. Time and money is needlessly involved in gathering medical information – which in certain instances may well delay attending to a life-threatening situation. The solution? Again, the individual taking charge of his or her medical details – and looking to HealthBank as the solution to securing all one’s medical information at one source.

This advice (“Harvard docs: Time is right for patient-centered health repositories, not portals” MobiHealthNews) from no lesser experts than 2 professors from Harvard encouraging one to take control of one’s medical data should not be ignored – and another example of collecting and protecting ……….

“The biggest difference between a personal health record and a hospital record is that many people, especially people with one or more chronic diseases, see a number of different care providers. As it stands, it’s hit or miss whether those care providers will have access to each other’s notes, which makes it hard for anyone to have a complete picture of the patient’s health.

“A patient-controlled health record infrastructure can support the development of highly desirable health system qualities,” the authors write. “First, it allows a patient to effectively become a health information exchange of one: as data accumulate in a patient-controlled repository, a complete picture of the patient emerges. If patients can obtain their data wherever they go, they can share them with physicians as needed — rather than vice versa. We believe the Meaningful Use program would have been more successful if it had rewarded clinicians for storing data in patient-controlled repositories rather than in EHRs that fragment data across the health care system.”

Mandl and Kohane conclude their piece with a call to action, saying that the government, healthcare providers, and the research community all need to work together to facilitate this sea change from hospital-based portals to patient-based personal health repositories.”