Health and Technology

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 501–517 | Cite as

The end of privacy for the populace, the person of interest and the persecuted

  • Diane RoarkEmail author
Original Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Privacy and Security of Medical Information


Erosion of US and foreign citizens’ privacy has resulted from the escalating use of electronic devices; creation of gargantuan commercial and government/intelligence databases; government access to business data; and the motivation and ever more sophisticated ability to mine and unaccountably use such information. After suffering the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the US government led the way in globally collecting and exploiting personal data. This ultimately required revisions to existing US law, as well as altered legal interpretations of constitutional protections for civil liberties. The overwhelming focus of US communications and electronic storage policy has been on offensive intelligence operations; collection has been enhanced partly by undermining cyber defense for companies and citizens. As with other business sectors, US medical information now is vulnerable to both criminal cyber-attack and government access. This article is authored by a former US intelligence community and national security professional with highly specialized proficiencies and experience at some of the top levels of intelligence oversight – where technical, operational, analytic, inter-agency, legislative, regulatory, legal and budget activities converge. Using unclassified and public sources, the author summarizes the types and breadth of US domestic collection and its distribution, the degree to which individuals’ privacy may be impinged, abuse of these powers, and effects on governance. Resulting US ability to spot and forestall pending domestic terror attacks - the rationale used to justify surveillance without end - is evaluated.


Privacy Data protection Surveillance Whistleblower National Security Agency NSA US civil liberties Terror attacks 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.


There is no funding source for this article.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any data, or other information from studies or experimentation, with the involvement of human or animal subjects.

Informed consent

Not Applicable.


  1. 1.
    Isikoff M. The whistleblower who exposed warrantless wiretaps. Newsweek 2008.
  2. 2.
    Savage C. Declassified Report Shows Doubts About Value of N.S.A.’s Warrantless Spying. New York Times. 2015.
  3. 3.
    Dalberg-Acton JEE. Historical essays and studies. In: Figgis JN, Laurence RV, editors. London: Macmillan; 1907.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Abbey E. In: MaCrae J, editor. The serpents of paradise: a reader. New York: Owl Books/Henry Holt & Co.; 1995.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Barrett D. Gun-show customers’ license plates come under scrutiny: federal agents enlisted local police to scan cars’ plates at shows’ parking lots. Wall Street J2016.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hill K. E-Z passes get read all over New York (not just at toll booths). Forbes 2013.

Copyright information

© IUPESM and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.StaytonUSA

Personalised recommendations