Your medical records aren’t safe: Ruling allows federal government to seize medical records without a warrant

Saturday, August 8, 2015
By Paul Martin

by: Daniel Barker
Saturday, August 08, 2015

Many Americans are aware of certain aspects of the ongoing assault on our rights to privacy. We know, for instance, that the NSA collects metadata regarding our phone calls and that law enforcement agencies are using sophisticated technology to track our movements and listen in on phone calls (whether we have committed a crime or not).

But most of us are not aware of a particularly dangerous form of privacy invasion that has been in practice for many years, and which has become increasingly common in recent times.

I’m speaking of administrative subpoenas, which are being used on a regular basis by agencies such as the DEA to gain warrant-less and judge-less access to medical and other personal records.

In a recent case in Texas (U.S. vs. Zadeh), a federal judge ruled that the DEA could “issue warrant-less subpoenas to search the medical records of 35 patients of Drs. Joseph and Abbas Zadeh in Dallas.”

There will soon be another ruling on the case by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Fort Worth. The outcome is likely to be “precedent-setting”, and observers on both sides of the fight will be watching closely.

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