05:02 GMT26 February 2021
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    The US healthcare sector will not be transparent unless it provides protections to whistleblowers, advocacy group Patient Privacy Rights Founder Dr. Deborah Peel told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Peel said the US healthcare sector had no whistleblowers despite having millions of databases that store patient health data and remain "unknown and inaccessible" to patients.

    "The US has the most intrusive health data surveillance industry in the world," Peel said. "Without whistleblowers, we have no way we can ever discover which companies are using and selling our most sensitive personal information."

    On Tuesday, 40 advocacy groups sent President Barack Obama a letter calling on him to endorse legislation that would restore whistleblower protection for US intelligence officials.

    Peel said she wonders how patients would ever find out information about which companies were selling and using personal health information. She said this set-up was the exact reason whistleblowers were needed in the US healthcare sector.

    "We also have no map of where health data flows in the United States," Peel noted. "Yet, we know that there are at least ‘100,000 health data suppliers covering 780,000 daily health data feeds’ that buy, sell and trade our health data every day."

    On Thursday, US advocacy group National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project Executive Director Zena Crenshaw-Logal told Sputnik that many US citizens in the United States continued to speak out about the need for whistleblower protections.

    "Despite the public outcry and international acclaim that Edward Snowden musters, he gets a metaphorical US government stamp: ‘Unworthy Of Relief’," Crenshaw-Logal said. "So just where or what are these inalienable rights of Americans and how do those of us who are relatively low profile activists get some for ourselves?"

    Crenshaw-Logal pointed out that the Obama administration had not responded since the letter was sent.

    Also on Thursday, advocacy group National Employment Lawyers Association Legislative and Public Policy Director Laura Flegel told Sputnik they were yet to receive a response from the US government.

    Consumer Action National Priorities Deputy Director Ruth Susswein told Sputnik she had not received a response either.


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