[ECP] NetHappenings 3/18/19

YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION PRIVACY RIGHTS

HIPPA  

Office for Civil Rights Headquarters
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Toll Free Call Center: 1-800-368-1019
TTD Number: 1-800-537-7697

HHS Releases Voluntary Cybersecurity Practices for Health Industry

GDPR, California’s Consumer Privacy Act, and next-generation ransomware and denial of service attacks, a firm’s ability to provide security is also becoming a matter of survival. Put it all together, and many CISOs today exist in environments where they are not understood by business executives and thus are not being included in business initiatives until it is too late and security vulnerabilities expose the enterprise to cyberattacks and compliance violations.

WHO OWNS YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS?

In 2016, more than 100 million Americans have had their electronic medical records hacked from health systems. For example, this June, Banner Health in Phoenix had a breach of 3.7 million electronic medical records.
Many hospitals throughout the country have been held hostage for their health information system by hackers and have had to pay ransom to regain control of their patients’ medical data.

2016 more than 100 million Americans have had their electronic medical records hacked. Each one can be sold for $50.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was written 20 years ago, when medical records were kept on paper, and is not applicable to the contemporary digital era.

Moreover, the pervasive selling of our medical data is unchecked, with no legal protection. The massive hacking of health system data has not resulted in any new legislation to date or enforcement via established laws.

Informed Patient Institute
We rate the websites that help you find the right doctor, hospital, and nursing homes and we provide tips about quality concerns. also see

https://www.philly.com/philly/health/what-is-philly-health-costs-and-how-can-it-help-me-20180220.html

ProPublica analyzed nearly 17,000 surgeons and found wide variations in complication rates for some of the most routine elective procedures. Explore our database to know more about a surgeon before your operation.
https://www.propublica.org/article/surgeon-level-risk-quotes

2016 Consumer Reports Medical Board Ratings

Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data: Physician and Other Supplier

Digital business has become a key driver to business strategy across industries.
CIOs have digital transformation at the center of their corporate
strategy.  #Cybersecurity, amazingly, is often not a top-tier priority in enterprise risk management. The #CISO, is only noticed when things go wrong. This is why CISOs are almost always fired or “resign” after major data breaches. The CISO is usually the most qualified person to manage post breach forensics, cleanup, and compliance audits.
https://venturebeat.com/2019/03/16/cisos-you-need-to-manage-by-walking-around/

Think a strong information security posture means you’re complying with HIPAA? Without proper documentation for government regulators, infosec protocols might safeguard data without meeting federal criteria.

Staff lapses and IT system vulnerabilities are key reasons behind SingHealth cyberattack, according to COI Report

ClassAction.org is a group of online professionals who are committed to exposing corporate wrongdoing and giving consumers the tools they need to fight back. We’ve been reporting on the legal space for nearly a decade and have built relationships with class action and mass tort attorneys across the country.

Prescription Hope
Prescription Hope offers over 1,500 brand-name medications all for the
set price of $50 per month for each medication. This covers 100% of the medication cost, no matter the retail price.

Market Share Matters: Evidence Of Insurer And Provider Bargaining Over Prices
Health-care providers and insurers have to agree on how much doctors will be reimbursed before doctors begin treating insurers’ clients. Those fees, which depend on the two parties’ relative clout. Abstract

A survey of the numbers, published this week in Health Affairs, shows that small-time doctor’s offices and insurance companies are getting squeezed by their larger competitors.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/01/09/its-hard-to-be-a-small-time-family-doctor-these-days-new-data-show/

Finally, U.S. hospitals will have to post their prices online.

Hospitals must post ‘chargemaster’ prices online.
Patient Estimate team call  484.337.1970
FAQ Requirements for Hospitals To Make Public a List of Their Standard Charges via the Internet
https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/AcuteInpatientPPS/Downloads/FAQs-Req-Hospital-Public-List-Standard-Charges.pdf
The chargemaster is not a useful tool for consumers who are comparison shopping between hospitals or health systems.
The chargemaster amounts are billed to an insurance company, Medicare, or Medicaid, and those insurers then apply their contracted rates to the services that are billed. In situations where a patient does not have insurance, our hospital has financial assistance policies that apply discounts to the amounts charged.
https://www.mainlinehealth.org/patient-services/patient-billing/standard-charges

A huge trove of medical records and prescriptions found exposed Thousands of health records and doctor’s notes were exposed daily
By Zack Whittaker TechCrunch.com March 17, 2019 A health tech company was leaking thousands of doctor’s notes, medical records, and prescriptions daily after a security lapse left a server without a password. The little-known software company, California-based Meditab, bills itself as one of the leading electronic medical records software makers for hospitals, doctor’s offices, and pharmacies. The company, among other things, processes electronic faxes for healthcare providers, still a primary method for sharing patient files to other providers and pharmacies. But that fax server wasn’t properly secured, according to the security company that discovered the data. SpiderSilk, a Dubai-based cybersecurity firm, told TechCrunch of the exposed server. The exposed fax server was running a Elasticsearch database with over six million records since its creation in March 2018. The faxes also included personal data and health information on children. None of the data was encrypted. […] Board of Directors responsible

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA

800 West El Camino Real, Suite 350
Mountain View, California 94040
General +1 650 458 2620
Sales +1 650 458 2625
info@elastic.co
sales@elastic.co

The server was hosted on an subdomain of MedPharm Services, a Puerto Rico-based affiliate of Meditab, both founded by Kalpesh Patel.

NY Governor Cuomo Calls For Investigation on Facebook Health Data Collection

American Travelers Seek Cheaper Prescription Drugs In Mexico And Beyond
In Utah last year, the Public Employee Health Plan took this idea to a new level with its voluntary Pharmacy Tourism Program. For certain PEHP members who use any of 13 costly prescription medications — including the popular arthritis drug Humira — the insurer will foot the bill to fly the patient and a companion to San Diego, then drive them to a hospital in Tijuana, Mexico, to pick up a 90-day supply of medicine.

TechCrunch: Screen time inhibits toddler development, study finds. “In news that will surprise few but still alarm many, a study has found that kids 2-5 years old who engage in more screen time received worse scores in developmental screening tests. The apparent explanation is simple: when a kid is in front of a screen, they’re not talking, walking or playing, the activities during which basic skills are cultivated

Researchers Create Algorithm to Protect Kids from Disturbing YouTube Videos

Computer program that could bypass patents to produce synthetic drugs Software that can bypass current intellectual property and design medication with the same function as top drugs could help pharma companies…

“Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey alleges eight Sackler family members and nine Purdue board members or executives played key roles in the nation’s deadly opioid epidemic.

COMPUTERS VS TEACHERS The Golden Fleece: replacing teachers with computers

You don’t have to look far into the future to see the technology sector circling the schools, giving generously to elected officials, hyping the wonders of computers instead of teachers (so much cheaper, and computers never need a pension), and gently persuading legislatures to add online courses as graduation requirements. Consider the federally-funded tests for Common Core: all online, all requiring a massive investment in equipment, bandwidth and support services. The Golden Fleece: replacing teachers with computers.
 
Laura Chapman writes:
 
 
 
Latest Bamboozlers are the “on-line only” promoters of “learning,” no need for teachers.
 
In a press release dated February, 3, 2014 KnowledgeWorks and The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) announced their shared agenda for federal policies that would change “our entire K-12 education system” to fit a student-centered learning environment with demonstrations of competency, free of traditional notions of schools, teachers, and student learning.
 
The policy report addressed to federal officials calls for the status quo on requiring students to meet college-and career-ready standards, but these standards would be aligned with specific competencies mapped into the idea of optimum trajectories for learning that will lead to graduation. Individual students would be tracked on the “pace” of their mastery through the use of on-line and “real-time” data. The data for each student is supposed to inform the instruction, supports, and interventions needed by each student in order to graduate.
 
This vision requires competency-based interpretations of the college-and career-ready standards and measures of those competencies. It requires a recommendation system (data-driven guide) for prioritizing required learning and ensuring continuous improvement in learning until graduation.
 
The vision calls for federal funding to states and districts for developing “personalized learning pathways” (PLPs) for students along with the infrastructure needed to produce real-time data for just-in-time recommendations for the interventions and supports needed to move students to college and career readiness.
 
The system in intended to build reports on the progress of individual students relative to mastery, or a high level of competency, for the college and career readiness standards.
 
In addition to keeping individuals “on-pace” in demonstrating standards-aligned competencies, this entire system is envisioned as offering “useful information for accountability, better teaching and learning, and measures of quality in education.”
 
In effect, programmed instruction is the solution for securing student compliance with the Common Core State Standards, assuring their entry into college and a career, with “instructional designers and programmers” the surrogates for teachers. Teachers are not needed because the out-of-sight designers and programmers build the recommendation systems for needed “interventions,” also known as “playlists.”
 
This is a souped-up version of vintage 1950s programmed instruction amplified in scope and detail by technology–on-line playlists and monitors of PLPs–personal learning plans–available anytime.
 
In fact, students get one-size-fits education, at the rate they can manage. The rate learning is optimized by computers programmed to lead students to and from the needed playlists of activities (e.g., subroutines that function as reviews, simple re-teaching, new warm-ups for the main learning event or subsets of methods for presenting the same concept). The student does what the computer says and the computer decides if and when mastery or some other criterion for competence has been achieved.
 
The selling framework is for “personalized, competency-based student-centered learning in a de-institutionalized environment.
 
Out of view are scenarios where all education is offered by “learning agents” who broker educational services offered by a mix of for-profit and non-profit providers. Token public schools remain in the mix, but are radically reduced in number and the loss becomes a self-fulling prophesy justifying radical cuts in state support. Profit seekers, together with volunteers and “20-year commitments from foundations” provide for “students in need. This is one of several scenarios from KnowledgWorks
The quest for federal funds is found here athttp://knowledgeworks.org/building-capacity-systems-change-federal-policy-framework-competency-education#sthash.Nr0OpfWq.dpuf
 
See more at the CompetencyWorks website http://bit.ly/cwk12fedpolicy

7 Pages That Gave President Obama Cover to Kill Americans

7 Pages That Gave President Obama Cover to Kill Americans
A newly released memo from the Office of Legal Counsel calls the wisdom of David Barron’s lifetime appointment to a federal judgeship into question.
Before David Barron was confirmed this year to a lifetime seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, his critics objected that the cover he gave President Obama to carry out extrajudicial killings of American citizens ought to disqualify him from the bench. “I rise today to oppose the nomination of anyone who would argue that the president has the power to kill an American citizen not involved in combat and without a trial,” Senator Rand Paul declared in remarks opposing the nomination. “I rise to say that there is no legal precedent for killing citizens not involved in combat and that any nominee who rubber stamps and grants such power to a president is not worthy of being one step away from the Supreme Court.”
Barron, who wrote his controversial memo while at the Office of Legal Counsel, was confirmed anyway, before the public was permitted to see the legal reasoning he used to weaken the Fifth Amendment as well as an executive order banning assassinations and a statute prohibiting the murder of American citizens abroad. Now that analysis is available for review.
One memo was released with significant redactions on June 23. Charlie Savage ofThe New York Times, who has fought alongside the ACLU for the release of all such memos, set forth what it revealed about Team Obama’s legal reasoning. Then on Friday, the administration released an even earlier Office of Legal Counsel memo. Also heavily redacted, it nevertheless gives us insight into Barron’s initial attitude toward one of the most fraught questions in American constitutional law. The memo, co-written with Marty Lederman, is here. And it coveys disturbing information about an Obama-appointed federal judge.
//

Opportunities, Threats, Internet Governance and the Future of Freedom

Opportunities, Threats, Internet Governance and the Future of Freedom
Robert M. McDowell
Last Friday, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced it intended to start the process of severing its last tether to the non-profit organization that manages Internet domain names and addresses, such as dot com and dot org. These technical functions, that help people’s computers and mobile devices find what they seek on the Net, are administered through the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
If all goes according to NTIA’s plan, the U.S. government will relinquish its contractual oversight of ICANN by September 2015. In its ideal form, this evolution could help reverse a growing tide of increased state interference into the Net’s affairs. If events don’t unfold as NTIAintends, however, Internet freedom, global prosperity and international political reform will be at risk.
Due to the complexities of the Internet ecosystem, and the manner in which it has thrived, before reacting impulsively, observers should pause and thoughtfully examine the nuances that abound in the wake of this development.
A best case scenario for the NTIA plan would have existing, non-profit, private sector Internet governance groups oversee ICANN’s management of these critical technical functions, just as they have other technical aspects of the Net for decades – with a perfect track record of success.
The worst case scenario would include foreign governments, either directly or through intergovernmental bodies, snatching the soon-to-be untethered technical functions for their own purposes. Keep in mind that Vladimir Putin plainly asserted in 2011 that his goal is to have “international control of the Internet” through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a treaty-based arm of the U.N. Given Mr. Putin’s proclivity for expansionism, especially lately, we should regard his statement as a promise he intends to keep.
This concern is more than theoretical. Countries such as China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and their client states, have worked for years to absorb many aspects of Internet governance into multilateral organizations such as the ITU rather than the non-profit private sector. They succeeded in gaining a toehold in the Internet’s affairs during the 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications, a treaty negotiation in Dubai. They will be back to expand the ITU’s authority further at its plenipotentiary meeting this fall, which is another treaty negotiation as well as a “constitutional convention” for the ITU.
Context is everything with this scenario. Internet freedom has been under siege for years. Authoritarian regimes resent the free flow of information an unfettered Net brings – even if increased Net-based commerce is catapulting developing world economies to new heights. The U.S. government’s role with the contract for the technical functions operated through ICANN has been used as Talking Point Number One by those who seek to expand intergovernmental organizations’ reach into the Net’s operations to counter what these regimes contend is, essentially, American domination of the Internet.
Add to the mix the recent revelations by Edward Snowden regarding the breadth of the U.S. National Security Agency’s data gathering, and pro-international regulation forces have something stronger than mere rhetoric to make their case for their proposed power grab. The timing of NTIA’s announcement, however, comes at a crucial time and has the potential to change the trajectory of the debate, with no cost to the U.S. – unless the Administration weakens its stance.
NTIA’s Friday announcement was not a complete surprise to those who follow these esoteric but important matters. Working toward removing NTIA’s formal role in this area is consistent with the arc of actions taken by the U.S. government since the 1990s when it formalized the privatization of the Internet and its governance. In short, the Net has migrated further away from government control over the past three decades. As a result, it has become the greatest deregulatory success story of all time.
For instance, in the late 1980s, only a paltry 88,000 people – mainly government users and academics – had access to the Internet. Today, due to the government taking its hands off of the Net, more than 3 billion people across the globe have Web access through mobile devices alone. Accordingly, the Net is fundamentally and rapidly improving the human condition by boosting living standards and raising political expectations as it strengthens the sovereignty of the individual. The evidence is irrefutable that both domestic and international government policies to leave the private sector alone to innovate and invest were the direct cause of this beautiful explosion of entrepreneurial brilliance.
With Friday’s announcement, NTIA is taking its last steps down a path that was paved over two decades ago: a path intended to get the government out of the Internet governance business. In that spirit,NTIA has put forth several conditions before it would allow its contract overseeing ICANN to expire in September 2015. The most important condition is that no governmental, intergovernmental or multilateral bodies would be allowed to have a role in overseeing any technical functions. Implicitly, if foreign governments or treaty-based organizations were to insert themselves into this realm, NTIA would renew its contract with ICANN in 2015, thus keeping the status quo and ending the argument for at least few more years.
To show that it is resolute, the Administration should vehemently underscore the conditionality of its plan. It cannot soften its stance on this crucial issue, event slightly. If it does, chaos will reign unlike any other time in the Internet’s history. Internet freedom and prosperity would get caught in an international regulatory death spiral.
The best case scenario would involve sticking with what has worked in the Internet space since its inception: allowing the non-profit, non-governmental, private sector, multi-stakeholder Internet governance structure to keep doing what it has been doing so well without the “help” of governments. Diverse, loosely-knit and “bottom up” run technical groups such as the Internet Architecture Board, the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Society, and regional and local engineers, academics and user groups, are the best stewards of these technical functions – not anyone’s government. These private sector groups will keep the Internet governance structure dispersed and free from bottle necks to ensure that no entity can control the Net or shut it down.
Accomplishing the complex task of modernizing the multistakeholder model of Internet governance, including the administration of critical technical functions, will be difficult and risky. U.S. policy in this space should be to keep governments out of the Net’s technical affairs. But we can’t have it both ways. The Administration must not waver, even symbolically. Internet freedom and prosperity hang in the balance. To be continued …
Who Controls The Internet?
Seven people control the system at the heart of the web: the domain name system, or DNS.

Leonie Haimson: The Woman Who Stopped Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, and the Ed Profiteers

Diane Ravitch’s blog

Leonie Haimson: The Woman Who Stopped Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, and the Ed Profiteers

Below is a letter from Leonie Haimson, who was previously added to the honor roll of this blog for fighting for students, parents, and public education.
Leonie almost singlehandedly stopped the effort to mine student data, whose sponsors wanted confidential and identifiable information about every child “for the children’s sake.” Leonie saw through that ruse and raised a national ruckus to fight for student privacy. privacy of student records is supposedly protected by federal law (FERPA), but Arne Duncan weakened the regulations so that parents could not opt out of the data mining.
It is not over. The Gates Foundation and Carnegie Corporation put up $100 million to start inBloom, and Rupert Murdoch’s Wireless Generation got the contract to develop the software, and amazon.com pans to put it on a “cloud.” They will be back. We count on Haimson and the many parents she has inspired to remain vigilant on behalf of our children. As a grandparent of a child in second grade in a Brooklyn public school, I have a personal interest in keeping his information private.
Here is Leonie’s letter, written 12/20/13:
Dear folks,
I have good news to report! Yesterday, Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the NYS Assembly, along with Education Chair Cathy Nolan and fifty Democratic Assemblymembers sent a letter to Commissioner King, urging him to put a halt to inBloom.
“It is our job to protect New York’s children. In this case, that means protecting their personally identifiable information from falling into the wrong hands,” said Silver. “Until we are confident that this information can remain protected, the plan to share student data with InBloom must be put on hold.”
Why is this important? Because Speaker Silver and the Democrats in the Assembly appoint the Board of Regents, as the Daily News noted. The Regents control education policy in New York, and appoint the commissioner.
We have begun to make real headway in the past year against inBloom, but we need your support so we can continue the fight for student privacy and smaller classes in the public schools.
We count on donations from individuals like you as our main source of funding. If you appreciate our work and want it to continue and grow stronger, please give a tax-deductible contribution right now by clicking here: http://www.nycharities.org/donate/c_donate.asp?CharityCode=1757 or sending a check to the address below.
I am proud to have been called “the nation’s foremost parent expert on inBloom and the current threat to student data privacy.” We were the first advocacy group in the nation to sound the alarm about inBloom’s plan to create a multi-state database to be stored on a vulnerable data cloud run by Amazon.com with an operating system built by Rupert Murdoch’s Amplify. The explicit goal of inBloom was to package this information in an easily digestible form and offer it up to data-mining vendors without parental consent.
In February, inBloom formally launched as a separate corporation, and nine states were listed as “partners.” We worked hard to get the word out through blogging, personal outreach to parent activists and the mainstream media. After protests erupted in states throughout the country, inBloom’s “partners” pulled out. Now, eight out of these states have severed all ties with inBloom or put their data sharing plans on indefinite hold.
Sadly, as of yesterday, New York education officials were still intent on sharing with inBloom a complete statewide set of personal data for all public school students– including names, addresses, phone numbers, test scores and grades, disabilities, health conditions, disciplinary records and more. To stop this, we helped to organize a lawsuit on behalf of NYC parents which will be heard in state court on January 10 in Albany (note the new date), asking for an immediate injunction to block the state’s plan. (The state has delayed the hearing in order to gain more time to respond to our legal briefs.)
In addition, we will continue our work on the critical issue of class size. As a result of our reports, testimonies and public outreach, we have been able to shine a bright light on what many consider to be the most shameful aspect of Mayor Bloomberg’s education legacy: the fact that class sizes in NYC have increased sharply over the last six years and are now the largest in the early grades since 1998. More on this issue is in my Indypendent article just published, called Grading the Education Mayor
Class sizes have increased every year, despite the fact that the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case was supposedly “settled” by a state law in 2007 that required NYC to reduce class sizes in all grades. As a result, 86% of NYC principals say they are unable to provide a quality education because classes are too large. Parents say that smaller classes are their top priority according to the Department of Education’s own surveys. There is no more critical need than smaller classes if the city’s children are to have an equitable chance to learn.
But class size is not just a critical issue in NYC public schools. Because of budget cuts, class sizes have risen sharply throughout the state and the nation as a whole. In more than half of all states, per-pupil funding is lower than in 2008 and school districts have cut 324,000 jobs.
At the same time, more and more money is being spent by billionaires and venture philanthropists on bogus “studies” to try to convince states and districts that class size doesn’t matter and public funds should be spent instead on outsourcing education into private hands – despite much rigorous research showing the opposite to be true.
With vendors trying to grab your child’s data in the name of providing “personalized” instruction – a euphemism that really means instruction delivered via computers and data-mining software in place of real-life teachers giving meaningful feedback in a class small enough to make this possible — our efforts are more crucial than ever before.
Please make a donation so that our work can continue and be even more effective in 2014.
Thanks for your support and Happy New Year,
Leonie Haimson
Executive Director
Class Size Matters
124 Waverly Pl.
New York, NY 10011
212-674-7320
Big Data, Internet Surveillance, and 4th Amendment.
parents and eligible students annually of their rights underFERPA
www.edu-cyberpg.com/Technology/Big-Data.html

Privacy Concerns over selling K-12 Student Data information is a common practice.
Department’s experience administering FERPA and the current
www.edu-cyberpg.com/Technology/PRIVACY_INFORMATION.html

Untitled Document
Institutions are beginning to explore the connection between FERPA
www.edu-cyberpg.com/Internet/Distance-Learning-Higher-Ed-Faculty-Obligati…

Educational CyberPlayGround: Children’s Rights and K-12 Students rights to…
Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) http://www.epic.org/privacy/
www.edu-cyberpg.com/Teachers/children-rights.html

New Teacher Resources and Training: Back to School
Act of 1974 (FERPA).. more] Bill Gates arrested in 1977 for
www.edu-cyberpg.com/Teachers/newteacher.html

K-12 Eductaion School Administrators fail to understand the proper use of…
FERPA does not give permission to teachers to give children’s
www.edu-cyberpg.com/Teachers/admin.html
 

Chemical trade group lobbies to block LEED

Someone has to make the push to get these These toxic trade associations chemicals that make unhealthy products out of our faces.

Chemical trade group lobbies to block LEED

Posted on February 19, 2013

The following post is by Robin Guenther:
The war over toxic chemicals and human health is spilling over into places we live and work: our buildings. The American Chemical Council (ACC) has launched an expensive and focused attack on the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to protect the status quo of a small set of bad-actor manufacturers of toxic and obsolete chemicals. But innovative companies across the building industries and human health advocates are fighting back.

Guenther
The American Chemical Council is lobbying to end the federal government’s use of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification system unless USGBC removes all references to human health. If successful, they will keep taxpayers from receiving the cost savings and productivity benefits that LEED certification has generated. Why does a chemical industry trade association think better buildings are such a threat, you ask?
The USGBC has transformed the global building industry with its emphasis on high performance, low energy and healthier building practices through its LEED certification program. In only a decade, LEED plaques have become synonymous with the best buildings in the world.

A high-performance building?
USGBC’s mission is to make buildings not only more energy-efficient, but healthier spaces for those who inhabit them. The new draft version of LEED seeks to assuage human health concerns of buildings by offering voluntary credits for buildings using healthy materials. Many in the health community see this as a long overdue step for the rating system.
The ACC, however, sees this as a dangerous threat to their member companies because a few of them make a pretty penny producing controversial chemicals.
So if you can’t beat ‘em, lobby against ‘em, right? ACC is doing what it does best — spreading misinformation and shoving truckloads of cash into lobbying efforts to keep the market from abandoning toxic materials and embracing green chemistry.
They’ve even gone so far as to form the laughable “American High-Performance Buildings Coalition,” a group whose membership reads like a who’s who of industries that make unhealthy products, all uniting to lobby against LEED. From big chemicals to vinyl to adhesives to petrochemicals — they’re all here.
These toxic trade associations are trying to convince us that they are the ones who truly support “green” building. Perhaps next they’ll suggest that their products only increase your odds of developing “green” cancer.
While they claim LEED is not consensus-based, this is demonstrably false. Any revision to the LEED standard must be approved through a democratic balloting process open to all 14,000 members of USGBC. These members are architects, engineers, builders, contractors and product manufacturers.
In fact, the ACC and many of its member companies are participating in the LEED development process. But when the professionals who purchase building materials began to suggest that a LEED credit be available for purchasing healthier building materials, suddenly the process is flawed, and not consensus-based.
In the real world, when your customers ask for something, you don’t lobby against their right to buy what they want, do you? Let’s hope these companies wake up and start to reign in their out-of-control trade association before people really start to notice who’s behind the curtain.
Green buildings are about more than energy and water conservation; they must also include consideration of human health. Hospitals have started to lead the way. The Health Product Declaration, an independent, open-source methodology for declaring content of building products, is ushering in a new age of transparency in corporate reporting. The Healthier Hospitals Initiative recently released targets for safer products that include credit for avoiding chemicals of concern in interior furniture. Major manufacturers of health-care building products have begun substituting PVC and phthalate plasticizers with safer alternatives. These firms are innovating and capturing market share.
While the ACC protests these LEED credits, we would venture to say their innovative members are investing in R&D to move to safer alternatives precisely because of these initiatives. The construction industry needs the USGBC and LEED; citizens do, too. Someone has to make the push to get these chemicals out of our faces.
Robin Guenther, FAIA, is a principal focused on health care architecture at Perkins+Will, a global design firm. This piece was distributed by American Forum.

Big Food Is Making Us Sick

Food companies shape health legislation and avoid regulation and are making us sick!

Food Corporations makes us sick

Giant Food Corporations Work Hand-In-Glove With Corrupt Government Agencies To Dish Up Cheap, Unhealthy Food

Three companies now account for more than 40 per cent of global coffee sales, eight companies control the supply of cocoa and chocolate, seven control 85 per cent of tea production, five account for 75 per cent of the world banana trade, and the largest six sugar traders account for about two-thirds of world trade, according to the new publication from the Fairtrade Foundation.
 
Reuters notes:
Multinational food, drink and alcohol companies are using strategies similar to those employed by the tobacco industry to undermine public health policies, health experts said on Tuesday.
In an international analysis of involvement by so-called “unhealthy commodity” companies in health policy-making, researchers from Australia, Britain, Brazil and elsewhere said … that through the aggressive marketing of ultra-processed food and drink, multinational companies were now major drivers of the world’s growing epidemic of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Writing in The Lancet medical journal, the researchers cited industry documents they said revealed how companies seek to shape health legislation and avoid regulation.
This is done by “building financial and institutional relations” with health professionals, non-governmental organizations and health agencies, distorting research findings, and lobbying politicians to oppose health reforms, they said.

About IEEE Computer Society

IEEE Computer Society is the source that computing professionals trust to provide high-quality, state-of-the-art information on an on-demand basis.

About IEEE Computer Society

IEEE Computer Society is the world’s leading computing membership organization and the trusted information and career-development source for a global workforce of technology leaders including: professors, researchers, software engineers, IT professionals, employers, and students. The unmatched source for technology information, inspiration, and collaboration, IEEE Computer Society is the source that computing professionals trust to provide high-quality, state-of-the-art information on an on-demand basis. The Computer Society provides a wide range of forums for top minds to come together, including technical conferences, publications, and a comprehensive digital library, unique training webinars,professional training, and a TechLeader Training Partner Program (T2P2) to help organizations increase their staff’s technical knowledge and expertise. To find out more about the community for technology leaders, visit http://www.computer.org.