Recent events have come to light about hospital surveillance that should concern everyone.
Big Tech is using the pandemic as an excuse to turn hospitals into mirror images of law enforcement’s real-time crime centers.
When Google announced that they were donating 10,000 Nest cameras to hospitals, my jaw dropped.
With these Nest Cams, nurses and doctors will be able to check in on patients, supplementing in-person checks. This means there will be a reduction of physical contact, and therefore less of a need for personal protection equipment (PPE), which has fast become a scare resource.
What makes Google’s donation so jaw dropping is how Big Tech companies are using the pandemic to make them appear magnanimous.
With both contact tracing and the Nest Cam solution, however, Google needs to rebuild a reputation as a privacy concerned company due to the sensitive nature of both projects. It’s not going to be an easy task, but one that should remain at the forefront of all such efforts.
Because nothing says reputation builder like putting real-time surveillance cameras in patients’ rooms. Not only will hospitals record patients but they will record nurses, doctors, hospital staff and anyone else who enters a patient’s room. That also includes minors, so no one will be safe from Big Brother’s prying eyes.
As The Guardian found out, it also sends that information to Google servers.
However, Nest admits that when connected to Google’s “Works with Nest integration” system, which allows other devices such as ceiling fans, washing machines and car sensors to integrate with Nest’s products, it does share personal information with Google.
Why would Google donate 10,000 Nest cameras to 6,146 hospitals? Because they are hoping that the staff and patients will grow accustomed to being surveilled 24/7, and they hope hospitals will eventually purchase a Nest Aware subscription.
Nest cameras also record audio, making them the perfect hospital surveillance tool for law enforcement. Although a Google search of “total hospital police departments in the U.S” turned up nothing, we know that there are more than 6,000 hospitals and there are more than 17,000 law enforcement agencies in the U.S.
So if we were to make a conservative guess and say that at least half of America’s hospitals have police departments, that puts the number at roughly 3,075. Does anyone really think that 3,075 hospital police departments will return Google’s Nest cameras after the pandemic?
A recent Wall Street Journal article warned that hospitals are also using thermal imaging to scan everyone entering hospitals.
Nest cameras are notorious for being easy to hack
It is reprehensible to see how the mass media portrays Big tech in such a positive light as they slowly turn our hospitals into real-time surveillance centers.
A recent news release by care.ai revealed that the largest hospital association in the country, the Texas Hospital Association (THA), is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to monitor patients in real-time.
Through this new partnership with care.ai, Texas hospitals will have the opportunity to experience the use of AI in a hands-on local lab environment. They will get to see in real time the value that autonomous monitoring can bring to their facilities. We’re proud to connect our members to cutting-edge technologies that have a transformative impact on healthcare delivery in Texas,” Fernando Martinez, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Texas Hospital Association Foundation said.
As THA’s “history” page notes, they are easily the largest health care association in the country.
Today, THA is one of the largest, most respected health care associations in the country, and the only association that represents the entire Texas hospital industry. The Texas Hospital Association serves as the political and educational advocate for more than 430 hospitals and health systems statewide.
If the “most respected health care association in the country” thinks it is OK to use AI to monitor patients in real-time then America’s hospitals have truly become real-time surveillance centers.
care.ai’s business model is not built on helping patients recover from the coronavirus: it is built on monitoring patients in real-time.
Continuous monitoring that can locate and identify individuals and their behaviors in real time, minimizing risks before they happen.
care.ai – monitoring and safeguarding patients in real-time
According to care.ai they are continuously monitoring everyone in every Texas hospital room. They call it a “the self aware room,” I call it the real-time surveillance room.
care.ai has taken smart devices and perverted them into three real-time surveillance devices.
The AMS-M1, AMS-M2 and AMS-M2R smart devices are packed with cameras and deep learning sensors.
Question: if Google is donating 10,000 Nest Cameras and care.ai is using multiple smart devices equipped with cameras at what point do we ask, how many surveillance devices are too many?
There is no word if Google plans to “donate” Nest Hub Max’s to hospitals but, if they do, they would turn America’s hospitals into real-time facial recognition centers.
Do we really want to live in a future where hospitals mirror police department real-time crime centers? Once hospitals acquire surveillance technology, mission creep dictates that it will grow and grow until there is no turning back.
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