September 25, 2013 —
HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania House Human Services Committee on September 23 passed legislation which, according to the PA American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), will allow for the collection of data on millions of prescription drug users in the commonwealth. The PA ACLU called House Bill 1694 “woefully inadequate” in protecting Pennsylvanians’ sensitive medical data.
“While there are legitimate public health concerns about prescription drug abuse, this bill goes too far in sacrificing the privacy rights of millions of Pennsylvanians,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania.
The bill does not require law enforcement to receive approval from a court before obtaining information from the database. The legislation also allows the data to be stored for six years or even permanently, under certain conditions.
“In these days of mass data collection by the NSA, it’s hard to believe that any government official would propose more monitoring of our daily lives,” said Andy Hoover, legislative director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “But that’s exactly what this bill is. Without a significant tightening of privacy protections, house members should reject this bill, for the good of their constituents.”