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Buried In the Healthcare.gov Source: "No Expectation of Privacy" 365

realized writes "The Obamacare website Healthcare.gov has a hidden terms of service that is not shown to people when they sign up. The hidden terms, only viewable if you 'view source' on the site, says that the user has 'no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system.' Sadly, the taxpayer-funded website still does not work for most people, so it's hard to confirm – though when it's fixed in two months, we should finally be able to see it." Note: As the article points out, that phrasing is "not visible to users and obviously not intended as part of the terms and conditions." So users shouldn't worry that they've actually, accidentally agreed to any terms more onerous than the ones they can read on the signup page, but it's an interesting inclusion. What's the last EULA you read thoroughly?
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Buried In the Healthcare.gov Source: "No Expectation of Privacy"

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  • by WillAdams ( 45638 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @10:08AM (#45131741) Homepage

    I want legislation limiting their healthcare and other benefits to those which are available to the general public.

    • by jerpyro ( 926071 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @10:19AM (#45131855)

      Sadly, I think a lot of people want a lot of things from Congress right now.

      • by Salgak1 ( 20136 ) <salgak@@@speakeasy...net> on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @11:05AM (#45132333) Homepage
        I'd like a few things FOR Congress. Tar and Feathers come to mind, for starters. . . .
      • Not me. I don't want a lot. I just want them to do their jobs.
        • Are you sure? The harder they fail at fixing the current mess, the harder it'll be for them to get hired afterwards. Nothing disillusions the supporters of a broken system like its colossal, unmitigated, blatant failure.
          • by Frobnicator ( 565869 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @12:40PM (#45133455) Journal

            Are you sure? The harder they fail at fixing the current mess, the harder it'll be for them to get hired afterwards. Nothing disillusions the supporters of a broken system like its colossal, unmitigated, blatant failure.

            In total agreement.

            Both sides are constantly blaming the other for the deadlock in Congress. They haven't passed a budget since April 2009. That is one of the things the Constitution requires them to do, and they haven't done their job in almost five years.

            Both sides blame the other. And both sides are right. It is like the expression "No individual raindrop believes it caused the flood."

            Just like the raindrops, it isn't an individual drip that caused it, it is ALL of them together. Even the ones that are trying to make it better, they still bear some responsibility for the problems. Because ALL of them are responsible, ALL of them should be fired. Many people say "Not my congresspeople, they represent my views!" No. All of them contributed to the mess, ALL of them should go.

            I don't want to see things fail. I would much prefer to be watching a colossal success and the establishment of policies that the entire world holds up as monuments to human achievement. Instead we are watching doomsday debt clocks, there are discussions about global economic collapse, and millions of people wonder about losing their livelihood. I don't like watching things fail, but if they do fail, I hope it fails in such a way that people will again seize control of government, rather than letting government seize them. The best failures are the ones that lead to change and future success.

    • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @10:27AM (#45131927)

      Congress is ALREADY required by the ACA to use the plans available from the exchange.

      Whomever tells you they have an exemption is a fucking liar.

      What is now on the table is whether or not Congress (including the staffers who are not particularly well paid) will get a subsidy like everyone else who has employer covered healthcare insurance does.

      • by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @10:54AM (#45132195) Homepage

        What is now on the table is whether or not Congress (including the staffers who are not particularly well paid) will get a subsidy like everyone else who has employer covered healthcare insurance does.

        Republicans tried to embarrass the Democrats by requiring Congress members and and their staff to go to the exchanges. Democrats embraced the proposal except it created the dilemma where the Federal Government has no means to make contributions towards exchange-purchased insurance, and since the government offers insurance but the individuals are required to go to the exchanges, they don't technically qualify for the subsidy either. They shot themselves in the foot with the requirement (not that it's a bad requirement) and they're just trying to figure out how to pay for the benefit they already received.

      • by Jon_S ( 15368 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @10:56AM (#45132213)


        Ironically, if the employer mandate wasn't delayed a year (still don't know what was up with that), it would seem to me that Congress could have been fined for dropping coverage for their employees upon the ACA go-live.

        Congress is the only employer that is actually required by the ACA to drop their existing coverage of their workers and require them to purchase their own insurance (and contrary to popular belief, you don't have to purchase your insurance on the exchanges; that was just supposed to make it easier - although so far that isn't the case - and would be the only way you get the subsidies if you were eligible for them)

        All other employers (above 50 employees) are *required* to provide health insurance to their employees (although enforcement has been delayed a year). So yes, Congress got "exempted", but not in the way the ACA-haters are making it out to be. The "exemption" was actually put in by Charles Grassley, a republican, because he thought that this would kill the bill. However, congress actually said "sure, whatever, we don't have a problem going through the exchanges just like all the people who don't have coverage now". The "exemption" actually requires these employees to get their insurance through the exchanges (or on their own if they want), rather than to just stay on their employer's group plan like most other full time workers in the country.

        The only remaining debate is whether to take the money that Congress was previously kicking in as a contribution to their employees' group health care and add it onto their employees' paychecks instead, which seems fair to me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sycodon ( 149926 )

      The latest House proposal for increasing the debt limit specifies that the Pres and Congress must use Obamacare. Not sure if that means eliminating the outrageous 75% subsidy or not. I'm sure the Dems will reject.

    • Congress and federal employees have an employer-sponsored health plan just like millions of other Americans. The ACA is not intended to replace employer-sponsored plans. Why should Congress lose theirs when nobody else is?

      • by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @10:51AM (#45132139)

        It's kind of misleading to say "nobody else is". I know plenty of people who have already had their plans canceled or changed as a direct result of Obamacare; many more have already been warned of sharp premium increases by their insurance company due to Obamacare requirements, which may force some people to cancel plans they can no longer afford.

      • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

        Ironically ACA specifically requires Congress and their staff to go to the exchanges to get their insurance. But since their employer provides insurance as well, it created a quagmire because the law says that they wouldn't qualify for subsidized insurance since the employer has a plan...that they can't get.

    • I want legislation limiting their healthcare and other benefits to those which are available to the general public.

      To what purpose?

      In January, the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics' website unveiled a database detailing the minimum, average and maximum net worth of nearly every member of the current Congress.

      The research shows many of them are rich. Very rich. The median estimated net worth of Congress is $966,000, according to the center. By contrast, the median net worth of the typical American household is slightly more than $66,000. Ten members had a net worth greater than $100 million on one or both sites.

      Is Congress a millionaires club? [politifact.com]

      The congressman represents a district of about 710,000 people.

      Not a trivial responsibility ---

      and to do the job effectively requires staffing and money, quite a lot money when you get down to the truth of it.

      You can of course outsource the expense to candidates, lobbyists and campaign contributors with pockets as deep as the Koch brothers --- the Tea Party solution --- but you get what you pay for.

    • The Republicans just pushed such a bill and it went down in flames. It would have (among other things) forced Congress and the President to use Obamacare.

  • Data mining (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The gov finally caught on as most greedy corps do.

  • EULA Translation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Practically every EULA is just complicated legalese for one simple sentence: "Fuck you fucking fuckers!"

  • Cut & Paste (Score:5, Informative)

    by wherley ( 42799 ) * on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @10:17AM (#45131831)

    This is boilerplate language from many Federal sites and would seem to be a template cut/paste thing. Examples:






    • Well, that makes it all OK then!

      • Inasmuch as it implicitly limits those terms' scope to the informational parts of the web site, and not its functional as a healthcare data repository, yes, it is reassuring.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 )

      You mean right-wingers have deliberately taken something out of context so they can have a three minute hate? I don't think that has ever happened before.

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        Stereotype much? I first saw this on right-wing sites, were it was very clearly point out that this wasn't in the actual EULA and was just some copy-paste thing.

        But sure, go on believing that the only reason people disagree with you is because they're stupid, that way you don't have to consider their arguments: saves time and all.

  • by andy1307 ( 656570 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @10:17AM (#45131839)
    I know this is slashdot but stop digging. Here [slashdot.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by P-niiice ( 1703362 )
      welp, fox news as "news source" hyuck hyuck
    • by sycodon ( 149926 )

      Because Infrastructure of a national program doesn't count towards the cost of that program?

      So the website itself cost "only" 50 some million. In order to make it work, they needed hundreds of millions more. If Obamcare never passed, how much of that money would be spent?

      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

        Because Infrastructure of a national program doesn't count towards the cost of that program?

        So the website itself cost "only" 50 some million. In order to make it work, they needed hundreds of millions more.

        So if it costs, say, $50 million to build a bridge, and the roads that the bridge connects (and therefore makes the bridge actually work and be useful) cost $1 billion over 50 years, the bridge construction is 50 years late and $1 billion over budget?

        • by sycodon ( 149926 )

          If you had no plans to build a bridge somewhere (say, Alaska) and the bridge costs $50 million, but in order to get people to the bridge so they can cross it, then yes, the costs of the additional roads, etc to "make it actually work" is included in the costs.

          If there was no Obamacare, there would be no website and no need for all the extra costs to enable it.

          In other words, the engine is part of the cost of the car even though it is separately itemized in the price.

        • If those extra roads exist solely to service that bridge, then yes.

      • And this unused text string suggests the site is assembled from boilerplate, rather than a real custom, and thus expensive job.

        I would expect well-tested boilerplate, by the way, to keep costs down. But it is government after all. We can do both! We don't have to choose! We can have cheap boilerplate and grotesquely expensive costs. We don't have to choose!!!

  • Its *not* $634M (Score:5, Informative)

    by dieswaytoofast ( 716433 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @10:19AM (#45131851)
    Even the source link [foxnews.com] points out that its not $634M (except, since it does so in a "Fair and Balanced" way, you can't really tell)
    You can either actually read the article in gory detail, or better yet, go read this breakdown [ordinary-gentlemen.com] of the numbers.
    TL;DR --> its around $55.7M (which is still a lot, but is - decidedly - not $634M)
  • You need to be a practicing contract lawyer in the field the EULA operates in to understand what they mean.

    Last time I tried to read a EULA was on Microsoft's site. I read for maybe 15 minutes and hadn't finished more than a third of the document when MS's website cut me off for 'inactivity'.

    EULA's are a joke from any typical user's standpoint.

    Microsoft's attitude is part of the reason they get so little respect.

    • Of course, there are the simpler EULAs... like the GPLv2. Short, easy to read, not too much legalese, fairly easy to understand.

    • One of the beginner classes I had to take in college was on different OSes. We were required to read every OS EULA before we installed it. And we were quizzed on it.

      I won't say it's amazing how much crap you agree to (I'm looking at you Notepad, with your fancy limiting the number of cores I can run you on), but it's amazing that someone took the time to come up with all of that crap.

  • I thought that language is now a part of all american birth certificates. "Upon being pushed from an american vagina you have absolutely no expectation of privacy or actual security" or something like that.
  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @10:33AM (#45131971)
    "no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system" translated into HIPAA means "lol this website is completely illegal."
    • That was my first thought upon seeing this. This is a pure violation of HIPAA. If my company did this, we'd be sued into oblivion in no time, provided anyone bothered to read what they signed.

    • It is standard boilerplate, with the HIPAA violation commented out. No part of this is either illegal, or a story. This is the definition of a non story, and your willingness to believe anything bad about Obama specifically or government in general let you swallow this horseshit whole.
      Please think before spewing more nonsense. And moderators, there is no +1 fits my preconceived notions". You have an obligation to minimally fact check.

    • Actually, I read:

      "no reasonable expectation of privacy"

      . . . as . . .

      "no reasonable expectation of healthcare"

  • It's commented out, so users aren't agreeing to it. No court in the land would argue that users were in actuality agreeing to the HTML source of a click-through EULA. This is hyperbolic bullshit.

    • Agreed.. It's just boiler plate US government stuff that you see on most of their computers and websites. It's there to tell authorized users that they are subject to monitoring and have no expectation of privacy when you log into the machine.

      This language is there to prevent users from claiming that their personal information was improperly monitored when they where on the government owned system. But of course, that situation really doesn't apply here, now does it?

    • I saw "Hyperbolic BS" doing a five-year jam in the Oval Office.
      Ticket price was beyond outrageous.
  • by xombo ( 628858 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @10:48AM (#45132119)

    The contract was probably bid as protecting people's privacy and legal got to work right away regarding the terms of service.

    But, the developers were probably never able to successfully implement, or were not given sufficient resources to implement, a truly secure system. This comment was probably included as a protest to cover their own asses when the contract goes sideways.

    Plausible deniability? The client provided the terms of service.

  • by bigpat ( 158134 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @10:53AM (#45132189)
    Interesting Forbes article [forbes.com] on how healthcare.gov is designed to prevent people to see the full prices of the healthcare plans which is what is causing the upfront bottleneck. On the one hand it makes sense that you don't want to scare people off with high healthcare insurance prices until you know if they are eligible for subsidies, but on the other hand it means you probably have to verify the data entered against what are potentially hundreds of millions of records just to display a screen with prices for the plans [forbes.com].

    Seems a better option would simply to take the persons word for it up front, let them see the prices displayed depending on the personal and family information they entered and then only do the background verification after they "checkout" and actually purchase a plan. That way they just get an email later on if there is a problem with anything they entered or if the prices change based on something determined based on the background check and credit check. Or if as news reports suggest they are going to have to go through an income verification process as part of the Senate compromise, then doing the credit check up front in "real time" is an extra step anyway. Could even make the insurance companies do the final eligibility check as part of their 15% commission.

    Trying to process through hundreds of millions of records in less than tens of seconds is a stupid thing to try to do just to keep people from finding out what your prices really are even if you have hundreds of millions of dollars to blow through. They could have fully insured 100,000 more people for the money that has been wasted just on healthcare.gov.
    • Getting an email sounds like no big deal. But how would someone react to checking out on any site, and then finding out the product isn't shipping? How about when hundreds of thousands complain about the same thing? Finally, how about when a government agency says you bought something you are required to buy, then says sorry no you didn't?

      That would have directly impacted lots of people who don't have the luxury of posting stupid ideas on tech sites.

      Even if we take the 635M number, you would have insurance

    • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @11:30AM (#45132651)

      Oh give me a break.

      This information is already available on multiple sources and on Healthcare.gov. I am fucking tired of these articles that have NOT been researched or are published with the intent of misleading people.

      Plan information from Healtchare.gov without signing in:

      https://www.healthcare.gov/find-premium-estimates/ [healthcare.gov]

      https://data.healthcare.gov/dataset/QHP [healthcare.gov] ... /ba45-xusy

      Example of plan information from 3rd party sources:

      http://www.valuepenguin.com/ [valuepenguin.com]

      The actual fact is that healthcare.gov. in the first two weeks of operation has made plan price comparisons FAR easier than it has ever been. This could be a major consumer positive event in healthcare.

    • by wile_e_wonka ( 934864 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @11:53AM (#45132951)

      I'm pretty sure I'm not eligible for subsidies. But the system for figuring it out is a joke. It asks if I have any tax deductions such as student loan interest. So, I pulled out my tax return and put in practically every deduction. It isn't clear which deductions are eligible to be deducted.

      Even so, between my income and my wife's I'm almost certainly not eligible for any subsidies based on the information I provided. So, for those of us whose self-input information indicates $0 subsidy, why not just let us see the price? It can't possibly be worse than my holy-fraking-expensive plan available through my employer.

      So, I agree that they've set it up backward, and should take people's word on showing prices and just say "eligibility for reduced prices will be confirmed prior to purchase." But even with the current backward system, there is no reason that the unsubsidized prices shouldn't be shown for those of us whose information indicates that we aren't eligible for a subsidy.

  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @11:07AM (#45132363)

    Healthcare.gov didn't cost 634 million. Even the article the submitter linked to says it didn't. It appears the actual cost is around $55 million.

    http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2013/10/10/how-55-7-million-doesnt-equal-634-million [ordinary-gentlemen.com]

  • This disclaimer is just a re-statement of current law. It just warns people of the actual facts of what happens when they disclose information to third parties.

    See US vs. Miller (1979).

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky