The US-based Maximus corporation, a subsidiary of which is poised to take over the administration of BC Medical Services Plan and PharmaCare, has publicly stated on its website that it’s an “…outreach company for homeland security [Act] information sharing.” This revelation has amplified the privacy concerns of groups opposed to the imminent contract.[IMPORTANT UPDATE: Since this news item was posted on August 19, 2004, the “Homeland Security” page of the MAXIMUS website has been altered to delete the sentence, “Ongoing efforts are underway in several states to utilize MAXIMUS as the outreach company for homeland security information sharing” from the end of the second paragraph.]
According to the Right To Privacy Campaign (RPC), the Homeland Security and USA PATRIOT Acts are the foundations of the threat to British Columbians’ personal information once that information is in the hands of Maximus.
“We’re stunned that Maximus is an intimate partner in the Homeland Security apparatus,” said BC Civil Liberties Association Policy Director and RPC member Micheal Vonn. “If the Province was not aware of the link between Maximus and the US Homeland Security apparatus, then it did not do its homework. If it did know, then it has utterly failed to comprehend the magnitude of British Columbians’ concerns about their privacy.”
“The risk that the medical information of BC citizens could be disclosed to US intelligence authorities has just accelerated,” said Darrell Evans, FIPA Executive Director. “Maximus has revealed that it has a vested interest in disclosing any personal information it holds to the FBI and other US government agencies. In fact, it is actively promoting its role as a facilitator of this kind of information sharing.”
The Right to Privacy Campaign believes contracting out of the administrative functions of BC’s Medical Services Plan and Pharmacare to Maximus will place British Columbians’ confidential health information at risk of seizure by the FBI and, consequently, the American government.
The Homeland Security Act permits confidential information held by an American company or its affiliates obtained by the FBI through the USA PATRIOT Act to be entered into classified databanks. This information is then available to law enforcement and other agents of the American government. When the information is collected, individuals concerned are given no notice and are not permitted access.
The Right to Privacy Campaign is a group of organizations committed to stop the contracting out of information or information management to any company subject to foreign laws that violate the privacy rights of Canadians. More information on the campaign is available at http://www.righttoprivacycampaign.com.