Tag: privacy

ACLU Asks BPD to Turn Over Body Cam Footage from Harlem Park Lockdown

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Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Attorneys for the ACLU of Maryland want to know exactly what was happening as police blocked off streets, patted down residents and searched their houses in Harlem Park in the days following Det. Sean Suiter’s death.

Report: BPD’s Aerial Surveillance Program ‘Holds Potential,’ Needs Further Study

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The surveillance plane’s two “orbit areas” over Baltimore. Photo via Police Foundation/BPD.

A foundation devoted to researching policing strategies has concluded the Baltimore Police Department’s much-debated aerial surveillance program wasn’t a secret and was just an extension of investigative technology already in use. In fact, the foundation says in a new report that the program should be subject to “rigorous evaluation” so the BPD can proceed with its use, and develop guidelines in case other American police departments want to surveil their cities by plane, as well.

Carroll County’s Brave New School Lunches

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In three Carroll County elementary schools the old-fashioned an inefficient act of physically handing physical money to a cashier in the school cafeteria has been swapped out for a more modern biometric palm scan — a student holds her hands above an infrared scanner which “identifies unique palm and vein patterns, and converts the image into an encrypted numeric algorithm that records a sale.”

Maryland Lawmakers Propose Bills to Keep Employers out of Your Facebook Account

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Used to be, the only people besides you who were trying to log in to your Facebook account, were jerk friends looking to post something embarrassing under your name. But increasingly, it’s your employers who, no longer satisfied cruising your public social network profiles, are actually asking for your login information to see all the private stuff!

This kind of big brother stuff, sends my imagination off into the stratosphere. I picture the guy who asks my for my Facebook password wearing black gloves, a monocle, and sporting a wicked scar. When I picture myself refusing, I imagine being dragged kicking and screaming by two huge Men in Black. Then I’m incarcerated as a political dissident, and I become the Rosa Parks of the anti-anti-online privacy movement. It’s kind of cool, actually.

Anyway, last year, former correctional officer Robert Collins was asked to give his superior his Facebook login information in order to be considered for a promotion. He gave the information but then contacted the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland about the violation of privacy.

This is the kind of thing that feels so good to get righteously indignant about. And, happily, several Maryland lawmakers are doing just that. Sen. Ronald N. Young decried the practice for “stepping on constitutional rights.” Sen. Young is one of several legislators that have sponsored bills currently sitting in the Maryland legislature aimed at curtailing the ability of employers to request login information. Some would only protect state employees. Others are more inclusive, protecting students also. I say pass ’em all; let God sort ’em out!

Social Media for Medical Students

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Often when we hear about students tweeting, it’s for the wrong reasons — the football player breaking NCAA rules by using racial slurs against an opponent; the high schooler who got in trouble with the Kansas governor for an inappropriate hashtag (#heblowsalot). But with social media an increasingly pervasive part of daily life, it would be nice if there was some way to make it work for students, instead of just against them.

Cue Meg Chisolm, a psychiatrist and professor at Johns Hopkins. She’s a fan of tweeting, both personally and professionally, and she’s hoping to use her experience to help Johns Hopkins medical students figure out where social media might fit into their medical careers.

Chisolm herself has two professional Twitter accounts; @whole_patients demystifies psychiatry for doctors and patients alike (sample tweet:  Curiosity is one of core features I look for in #meded interviews. Surprisingly rare among med school & residency applicants) and @psychpearls, where she offers clinical tidbits for psychiatrists -in-training (sample tweet:  Lack of reliability in dx of specific DSM personality d/os raises the question:  is this diagnosis or “sophisticated” name-calling? #meded). She sees them as ways to connect with her colleagues, patients, and the wider public.

But social media plus medicine can be a volatile combination, too — especially for students who’ve grown up in a low-privacy world. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found an alarming number of blogs and Facebook posts by docs-in-training that contained all sorts of identifying information. Even when patients aren’t involved, a young doctor’s social media presence might not exactly connote professionalism, depending on how many look-at-me-wasted-at-Mardi-Gras pictures s/he has up.

Which is exactly why Chisolm and her colleague Tabor Flickinger are designing a pilot study to train third-year medical students on the potential benefits and pitfalls of social media use. Other medical schools, including Brown, the University of Chicago, and George Washington, already have social media curricula; this is Hopkins’s chance to catch up.

Students in the study will post on a private blog, which will help them mull over the challenging situations posed by their medical training. “They can reflect on encounters and situations that might have bothered them, or talk about successes,” Dr. Flickinger said. “This experience will teach them skills of reflective writing, and to think critically about issues of professionalism. It’s also a proactive way to get them to use social media in a professional way before they are released into the wild, so to speak. And do so in a protected way.”

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