5-12-11 Hodgepodge

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Required to Lie?

Open source software advocate Richard Stallman recently noticed that he was asked to lie before an appointment with his physician:

Since I was unwilling to sign a false statement, I asked to see the privacy notice. The receptionist offered me another copy of the consent form. I said I already had that, but that it referred to a "privacy notice" and that's what I didn't have a copy of. The receptionist said, "The rest of this page gives a summary of the privacy notice." It was a very brief summary and treated few points. I said, "This clearly refers to some other Privacy Notice, and it asks me to sign a statement that I have seen it. I cannot sign that if it is not true."

She said it was a binder 3,000 pages long. I said that I would not ask for a copy, but I did want to take a look at it. She went to look for it, then came back and said she could not find it, but asked me to sign anyway.
I somehow doubt that the situation Stallman describes is unique. Have government regulations with impossible compliance burdens given us "legal notice fatigue" to go along with "warning label fatigue", and induced legions of people to sign false statements in the process?

Weekend Reading

"The good therapist believes that reason is the best method for solving emotional problems, and actively helps his or her clients to better use their capacity for reason." -- Michael Hurd, in "Empowerment Depends on Reality" at DrHurd.com

"Even 88 years after their introduction in the US, I'm firmly of the belief that less active investors of modest means are far better served by using open-ended mutual funds than buying individual stocks or bonds themselves." -- Jonathan Hoenig, in "The Right Investing Tool for the Right Job" at SmartMoney

A Year Ago Today

I observed:
[Paul] Ryan, who imagines that such programs as Social Security and Medicaid can be "reformed," ... is no capitalist. (Otherwise, he'd be clear that the best way to "encourage" competition is for the government to stop manipulating the economy altogether, and would speak of phasing out instead of reforming entitlement programs.)
A year later, even some conservative commentators are catching on.

When Metaphors Die

Scott Hanselman, observing that, "The Floppy Disk Icon means 'save' for a whole generation of people who have never seen one," goes on to comment on thirteen other "Old People Icons that Don't Make Sense Anymore".



: Corrected two typos.


Steve D said...

"is no real confidentiality of medical records in the US, since the police can get them under very easy conditions."

At the doctor’s office, I once saw a notice of privacy which listed about twenty exceptions. Essentially, it was saying that the only way the government could get their hands on your medical records, was if they asked.

Gus Van Horn said...

That figures.

Anonymous said...

I noted when HIPPA passed that it merely clarified that the folks who were most likely to abuse knowledge of your medical records - the gov't and insurance companies - were the only ones exempted from it.

Yep, big help Teddy Baby. But then again, Ted Kennedy was a fellow who could create HMO's by fiat and then rail against them 15 years later as the epitome of all evil - without any cognitive dissonance. I'm sure the expensive Scotch he imbibed helped with that some.

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...

The only "benefit" I see from that "privacy" legislation accrues to the government: privacy is mentioned at every turn and backed by incantations of legalese. This will lull many people.