EPIC logo
OCTOBER 26, 2005


Marc Rotenberg
EPIC Executive Director
(202) 483-1140 ext. 106

Dr. Deborah Peel
Patient Privacy Rights Foundation Founder & Chairman
(512) 732-0033

                   To Protect Medical Records

The Electronic Privacy Information Center and Patient Privacy Rights
today announced a joint effort to establish stronger protections in the
United States for patients' medical information. EPIC and Patient
Privacy Rights have launched an online petition calling for strong
medical privacy safeguards.

"2005 is the year that the American public learned that massive security
breaches of personal information have made identity theft the number one
crime in America. We must not allow the most sensitive personal records
that exist, our medical records, to go online without adequate privacy
safeguards," said EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg.

Congress is rushing to pass legislation to establish a national Health
Information Network without patient privacy protections. Yet a Harris
poll this past February found that 69 percent of adults do not believe
strong enough data security will be installed. An earlier Gallup survey
found that 78 percent of the American public feel it is very important
that their medical records be kept confidential.

"No one should be able to see or use your medical records without your
permission," said Dr. Deborah Peel, founder and chairman of the Patient
Privacy Rights Foundation. "Americans must have confidence in the
privacy and security of their online medical records."

The petition states simply:

-- I want to decide who can see and use my medical records 
-- I do not want my medical records or those of my family's to be seen
or used by my employer 
-- I should never be forced to give up my right to privacy in order to
get medical treatment

EPIC organized the first successful Internet petition in 1994 when
47,000 wrote to President Clinton to object to the Clipper chip.

"We urge our friends and colleagues across the country to support the
excellent petition of Patients Privacy Rights. Now is the time for
Americans to send the message that protecting medical privacy online is
essential to modernizing the healthcare system," Mr. Rotenberg said.

EPIC is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C. It was
established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil
liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and
constitutional values. Web site: http://www.epic.org/

Patient Privacy Rights Foundation is a national consumer watchdog
organization based in Austin, Texas. The mission of Patient Privacy
Rights is to empower Americans to protect and preserve their human and
constitutional rights to medical privacy. Patient Privacy Rights
believes that individuals should have the right to decide who can see
and use their medical information and is educating Americans about
threats to patient privacy. Web site: http://www.patientprivacyrights.org

"I Want My Medical Privacy!" petition:


NOTE TO REPORTERS: A teleconference to discuss the EPIC-Patient Privacy
Rights medical privacy petition has been scheduled for Thursday, October
27 at 10 am EDT. For call-in information, contact Melissa Ngo,
ngo@epic.org or (202) 483 - 1140 ext. 123