Names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, phone numbers, passport numbers, employment statuses, and financial accounts are just a sampling of the information that the Obama administration’s new data warehouse will be storing in cyberspace.
The new system is called MIDAS. It stores all the information of people who enrolled in, or started to enroll in, Obama’s healthcare system.
The Obama administration claims that MIDAS is paramount to the smooth operation of the Obamacare insurance market, that it meets or exceeds federal security and privacy standards. Healthcare.gov spokesman Aaron Albright said: “MIDAS is a critical piece of the marketplace ecosystem.”
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The aspect of this new MIDAS system many find unsettling is that all of a private individual’s information will be floating in cyberspace indefinitely.
Originally, when people signed up for Obamacare, the public was assured that personal information would only be used to determine eligibility. The public was told that the Affordable Care Act would have a limited impact on privacy. This same information that was supposed to be used for one purpose has been moved and stored for a reason that has yet to be made clear to the public.
As a general rule, personal information is only kept for a limited amount of time before being destroyed. MIDAS is set to keep records indefinitely, with no plans of destroying anything on the horizon. This fact has raised more than a few eyebrows. Michael Astrue, former Social Security commissioner, said that there was no justification for keeping data permanently. In addition to that, Astrue is worried that the federal government is illegally adding information into MIDAS by inputting personal information collected from state-run Obamacare facilities without prior consent from the individual.
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All of this comes at a time when nerves are more than a little raw and sensitive over personal information floating in a cloud somewhere in cyberspace.
In 2013, over 40 million credit cards were compromised at Target. Ebay was hacked in 2014, with up to 145 million users potentially affected. JP Morgan was hacked in 2014. Their data breach affected 76 million personal bankers and seven million small businesses. Home Depot was hacked in 2014; fifty-six million credit card numbers were stolen, and 53 million email addresses were compromised. Sony was hacked in 2014, with employment and salary records pilfered. It also had emails hacked. Anthem was hacked earlier this year. It is suspected that China was behind the breach, however, it is unknown. To date, 80 million are expected to be affected. Information stolen included Social Security numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses. Premera Blue Cross was hacked in March. Eleven million records were reportedly stolen. Those records mostly contained Social Security cards and bank accounts. Lastly, the IRS was recently attacked. As many as roughly 100,000 homes have potentially been affected by their security breach.
There have been growing concerns by watchdog groups since the inception of MIDAS and its implementation without proper safeguards. The system has shown weaknesses. With major corporations being hacked, it is no wonder people may be more than a little concerned about a singular system holding that much information.
The world’s wealth is now held in cyberspace. It seems interesting that a system built to hold so much information would be named MIDAS.
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