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December 21, 2005
Contact AG, not TV
By Ken Gunn

Whomever this ["street preacher"] is, simply contacting the television station violated HIPPA privacy regulations in effect since 2003. [See: Dec. 7, 2005 letter] The television station also violated privacy regulations by producing the show that released the information to the public that the records were there, unprotected and that they contained personal information such as medical history, medical insurance information and social security numbers. This was an open invitation encouraging scam artists and identity thieves to help themselves to this unprotected wealth of personal and private information. Both the "preacher" and the tv station should be held accountable for this inappropriate action.

Contacting the TV station, rather than working through local or state government, was a disservice to the community.

Under no circumstances should this information about private records being mishandled have been brought to the public's attention.

I, for one, am sick and tired of politicians and others running to the press to "expose" something that is wrong. Especially when they do this that it can cause harm while promoting their agenda. In this case, the street preacher probably did this simply to bring attention to himself, to be the one to claim the fame if something is done about the problem. By giving this to the tv station, millions became aware of the unprotected records in that building. Some records were removed as a result; I have been told that a man in a car from Kentucky was seen gathering and removing records after the TV show aired. Neither the street preacher nor the tv station cared about the consequences of their actions, they only wanted the publicity.

I had no trouble locating and contacting the Attorney General and got a reply quickly. And I don't even live there....

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