Florida Government Database Leaks Private Information
The Florida American Civil Liberties Union, or the ACLU, released to the press yesterday that a confidential leak occurred from a Florida database called E-Force that stores personal prescription information in order to regulate the sale of prescription drugs. The leak in private information was discovered by an individual associated with six criminal cases in Volusia County. The individual, who was not directly involved with the trials, found their personal information and prescriptions had been made available to an unauthorized third party. The ACLU has requested that the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Health disclose why and how this happened.
The E-Force Database
Prescription drug records have been stored in E-Force, a state-wide database, which is solely dedicated to storing information from individuals who have purchased certain medications, which include anti-anxiety medications, sleep aids and painkillers.
Every year millions of illegal prescription pills and illegal prescriptions are made, bought and sold in Orlando. This high volume of illegal prescription activity led to the creation of E-Force, a government database to monitor the pills and dangerous drugs that an individual can get and from what doctors. In four years, the number of illegal users and “doctor shoppers” has been reduced because this database identifies rapid repeat customers. It has prevented drug trafficking and possible overdoses that result from high activity.
Now, E-Force has exposed the private information of 3,300 customers to strangers without their knowledge. Because of this privacy leak, the ACLU has stepped in to investigate. The public records that the ACLU is looking for are all records that would relate to requests made by task forces or local and federal law enforcement from E-Force.
The ACLU is concerned with whether or not E-Force is maintained with proper safeguards. At the minimum, databases like E-Force and others that contain confidential information should comply with HIPPA and all relevant security laws and regulations that pertain to the state of Florida. Maria Kayanan, the Associate Legal Director of the Florida ACLU, stated that unless effective safeguards are maintained under the Florida Constitution and the federal laws, these types of breaches will inevitably occur.