Billionaire investor Len Blavatnik will pay $3.3 billion to acquire Warner Music Group, which is currently owned by a private investment group controlled by Warner chief Edgar Bronfman. While $3 billion may seem like a high price to pay for a money-losing company with $2 billion in debt, Blavatnik faced competition from over a dozen other bidders, including Sony, Live Nation and Bertelsmann. [More]
The California HealthCare Foundation recently released the results of a survey on electronic medical records and consumer behavior. The survey found that 15% of people would hide things from their doctor if the medical record system shared anonymous data with other organizations. Another 33% weren’t sure, but would consider hiding something. [More]
When an insurer decides whether to offer you a new policy, or whether to raise rates on a current one, he most likely pulls a CLUE report that lists any homeowner or automobile insurance loss claims (or sometimes even just inquiries) that you’ve made over the past 3-7 years. Hopefully you monitor your consumer credit report for errors, but as you can see, that’s not the only one you should keep an eye on.
A fourth grade teacher in Salt Lake City, Utah, bought a box of scrap paper for $20 and discovered it was actually a box of medical records of 28 patients from Central Florida Regional Hospital. The hospital shipped the box via UPS to an audit company in Las Vegas last December. The hospital claims it had been tracking the box since February, but hadn’t told the patients. As for the teacher’s class, her next assignment for the students will be, “Apply for credit card offers using SSNs from the scrap paper box.”
Why play solitaire when you work for the utility company and can look up the mayor’s phone number? An Associated Press investigation reveals that casual snooping is widespread among employees who have access to large customer databases. According to one utility executive, it would be “difficult, if not impossible” to ferret out employees who use sensitive data for identity theft.
Just days after a deputy director of national intelligence told Americans that we need to rethink our concepts of privacy, comes news that it may, in fact, be harming us in the long run. In a recent national survey, nearly 70% of research scientists said the 2003 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is “impeding scientific research, stalling clinical studies and halting others altogether.”
Microsoft beat them to the punch, but Google has announced that they, too, are planning to roll out a service that lets consumers store their medical records online and transfer them between health care providers as needed. Marissa Mayer at Google said the idea was spawned after reports of lost or damaged records in the wake of Hurricane Katrina: “It doesn’t make sense to generate this volume of information on paper. It should be something that is digital. People should have control over their own records.” Mayer says they hope to include things like x-rays, and that it “will take a lot of breakthroughs in digitization.”
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that EMI, a Big Four music label and RIAA member, will release “significant amounts of its catalogue” unencumbered by DRM. The announcement from EMI is expected at an 8 a.m. EST press conference in London, featuring Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Privately most labels rejected the idea out of hand, but EMI, the world’s third-largest music company by sales, was already quietly exploring the idea of dropping DRM. EMI has struggled to overcome poor results and a laggard digital strategy, potentially contributing to its willingness to take a bold stance on DRM.
EMI will make the DRM-free portions of its catalogue available for download via iTunes. We wonder how the RIAA will react. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
• Sales receipts for minor purchases, after you’ve satisfactorily used the item and if it has no warranty.
You mean we don’t need this Ruby Tuesday’s receipt from 1997? —MEGHANN MARCO
The New York Times reports that EMI, one of the Big Four labels, may soon release its music without DRM. The third largest label behind Universal and Sony, murmurs of EMI intentions come on the heels of Steve Jobs’ appeal for DRM-free music.
The New York Times has an article today detailing the MIDEM music industry conference, and are reporting that at least 4 major record companies “could move toward the sale of unrestricted digital files in the MP3 format within months.”
If you’re looking to join the newly minted class action against Cingular, you might want to turn that shredder off. A customer was seeking to replace the billing records he had shredded, in order to prepare to join the suit, and called up the cellphone company.
Vice President Dick Cheney fired a stern rebuke on Friday to journalists after the disclosure of a secret program that combed a massive array of international banking transactions searching for terrorist ties, reports NYT.
According to an article published yesterday in the NYT, the government secretly reviewed bank transaction data following 9/11 in order to trace ties to terrorist organizations. In the pursuit of quick results, however, some concerns for jurisprudence may have been cast aside as ballast. Reports Times:
Poof. The records of over a million customers at Texas A&M’s largest student loan provider have been lost. The records contained personal information about the borrowers.