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Obamacare Data Warehouse Triggers Privacy Fears

06-17-2015
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A data warehouse is raising security concerns about the HealthCare.gov website. Known as MIDAS, the warehouse stores the information of millions of customers.

Security experts note, however, that there is no clear plan to destroy old records stored on the system. They warn that retaining data longer than necessary can open the door to hackers.

"A basic privacy principle is that you don't retain data any longer than you have to," Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said. "Even 10 years feels long to me."

Meanwhile, the Obama administration insists MIDAS is essential to the smooth operation of the healthcare law's insurance markets and meets or exceeds federal security and privacy standards.

But Republicans, like former Social Security commissioner Michael Astrue and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, are less than satisfied with the president's explanation.

"I accept they have an operational reason, if not a legal obligation, to keep data for a reasonable period," said Astrue, who served as commissioner from 2007-2013. "But there's no justification for keeping data indefinitely. I don't think they should be allowed to do it."

Hatch, an opponent of the healthcare law, called the administration's actions "careless."

"Despite (a) poor track record on protecting the private information of Americans, they continue to use systems without adequately assessing these critical components," Hatch charged.

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