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Author Archive: Anne Zimmerman

06/03/2021 Barcode Me

by Anne Zimmerman, JD, MS

I use the phrase “Barcode me” to verbalize the idea that my data is my own and that when anyone stands to use it for financial gain, I should be paid. The big data landscape with its massive capabilities can trace data at many points in the aggregation process. Pieces of metadata are merged into larger aggregate pools and deidentified along the way. Whether I am barcoded or represented by a QR code or even a shape or algorithm, there are ways to compensate me. I prefer Venmo but PayPal is fine too.

Privacy in the big data landscape is crucial in the context of personal, and especially health data, and many people wonder whether deidentification is enough to keep data safe.…

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by Anne Zimmerman, JD, MS

Vaccination hesitancy calls for a social sciences approach, not merely a public health data driven solution, nor necessarily a legal one. Nonmedical costs of eliminating religious exemptions should be considered. Ending religious exemptions risks increasing rights extremism and suffering its societal effect on all other public policies. By bringing those who are fighting to preserve the religious exemption into the discussion, a unified approach or compromise may be possible. Alienating them may cause more harm than good.

When rights-based activists protest, as they did in Connecticut this week and in New York last year, they empower a movement that effects issues well beyond vaccination.…

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Anne Zimmerman, JD, MS

By suggesting a lack of education or a failure to digest vaccination science, the public health officials and media miss a crucial point. Many people who do not want to accept a vaccine speak about liberty, and in the case of mandatory vaccination or vaccination as a condition of participation, bodily intrusion coerced by government. In February, 56 percent of white Republicans surveyed were unsure or planned to refuse vaccination. Their arguments are steeped in patriotism, loyalty to a bill of rights (albeit one that imagines no limits on those rights) and being American.  A scientific argument against vaccination refusal when the refusal is for a nonscientific reason is beside the point.…

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by Anne Zimmerman, JD, candidate MS (Bioethics)

At first it seemed like violence in the US had subsided during the pandemic. Outrage over police violence against unarmed black men was shelved while COVID-19 news took over the internet and cable news. The current civil outrage is evidence that violence against unarmed black men carries on concurrently with COVID-19’s economic and physical devastation that hurts the poor and the darker-skinned disproportionately. The causes are the same: The economic and physical effects of COVID-19 and police violence are caused by structural inequality.

The social determinants of health feed the most common comorbidities that make COVID-19 more severe: high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease.…

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