Apple, the company that moved some of its iCloud services to China, now wants access to veterans electronic health records. Apparently, through the Mar-a-Lago trio, Apple has wiggled its way into Trump’s inner circle within VA to negotiate a huge deal with huge privacy implications.

While the idea of an app on your iPhone for electronic records might sound nifty, it seems obvious this move is a basic grab at the very valuable data VA has in its VistA database that belongs to veterans and taxpayers.

Before I get to the point, I want to first acknowledge I am a longtime Mac user. But, these past years, I have been troubled to see how Apple has embraced China. I am doubly troubled by Silicon Valley’s full embrace of the European model of censorship over free speech impacting online research and general public opinion manipulation.

And we should be happy Apple wants to help veterans by accessing our private records?

Ever since electronic health records were a thing, privacy wonks have decried various moves by government entities to share health data.

Enter the past decade, lax policing of privacy laws and massive investment in lobbying has seen many privacy rights nearly vanish with advancements in technology and snooping linked to social media companies and Big Data.

Now, not only does Google and Facebook want to know the results of your last colonoscopy, but Apple wants to jump into the ring to help [sic] veterans store their electronic health records on an iPhone.

This summer, ProPublica published that a trio of Trump insiders were driving VA policy from Mar-a-Lago without required disclosures. At that time, one of the insiders’ children was working a deal for Apple to create an app. That deal supposedly fell through, but now we realize the Apple plan likely coordinated with the Cerner revamp of veterans’ electronic health records that will cost billions.

RELATED: Trump Administration Tells Court Mar-a-Lago Trio Totally Legit 

The convenience may seem great, but not when you think a few chess moves down the line. Exactly how does Apple plan to profit from this move? And is anyone addressing possible security risks that could come up later should Apple move its entire iCloud or other services to an anti-human rights country like China?

Before answering those questions, take a quick look at the justifications Apple provided after violating its previous privacy agreements with users by adopting China’s anti-privacy laws for its Chinese customers.

Why Apple Capitulated To China

“Our choice was to offer iCloud under the new laws or discontinue offering the service,” an Apple spokesman told CNN. The company decided to keep iCloud in China, because cutting it off “would result in a bad user experience and less data security and privacy for our Chinese customers,” he said.

Let’s remember China banned the Taiwanese flag this summer, and Apple’s agreement allowed China to crash iPhone’s worldwide, not just in China, if you pulled up the flag. China also banned Winnie The Pooh because President Xi Jinping looks like Pooh, and dissidents liked to make fun of Xi using memes.

Is this a recipe for privacy violations in the future? Do you enjoy free speech and being free? I hope you answer, “Yes!” or “Hell yes!” I fall into the latter category.

Using contacts through Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Report, Wall Street Journal reported Apple is in talks to use its software to allow veterans to access their electronic health records on iPhones. It has widely been reported Trump insiders have steered policy at VA outside standard advisory laws in place since Nixon’s Watergate.

Arguably, should veterans use standard phone storage, that would mean, by inference, that any government or entity requiring access, like China does for its citizens, could then access your health records and passwords.

Apple Lobbies Against China Trade War

Last spring, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook spent time at the White House addressing both tax reforms and trade conflicts with China. Shortly after the meeting, Trump dialed back his trade rhetoric involving China and trade.

According to NY Post:

Cook, in a White House meeting with President Trump last month, told the president that a trade war with China is a bad idea, according to a Tuesday report.

In a candid conversation with Trump in the Oval Office, Cook criticized the administration’s tariffs on goods products imported from China, according to the report.

“I felt that tariffs were not the right approach there,” Cook told Bloomberg about his private conversations with Trump. “And I showed him some more analytical kinds of things to demonstrate why.”

[…]

Cook, whose company saw China sales reach $18 billion in the holiday quarter, also doubled down on Apple’s commitment to pump $350 billion into the American economy over the next half-decade in the form of tax payments, hiring and capital expenditures.

Ready to sign up? Apple sure hopes you will.

What Apple Stands To Gain

“With nine million users, they will have the largest mobile platform for storing records on personal phones,” said Iltifat Husain, assistant professor at Wake Forest School of Medicine and co-founder of Impathiq, a health-data analytics company.

According to WSJ:

The VA partnership has the potential to accelerate Apple’s efforts to overcome past challenges by allowing it to tap into one of the nation’s largest, concentrated patient populations, health-care experts said. To date, the company has had to take a more patchwork approach, signing agreements with hospital networks and relying on them to encourage patients to import their medical records to iPhones using the new “Health Records” feature.

The goal, supposedly, is to allow users including veterans to import health records onto the phone to let third-party applications sift through the data. It is being touted as a deal supporting convenience to the veteran.

But, again, can we trust Silicone Valley with our health records? What if Apple chooses to move more of its operation to China?

What I am about to mention is not a conspiracy theory, but it may seem straight out of a science fiction movie.

Do Not Forget China’s Penchant For Organ Harvesting

This may seem totally off topic, but it warrants addressing how electronic health records could be utilized in a scenario involving organ harvesting – – worst case scenario?

It is now well known that China engages in the barbarous practice of organ harvesting, taking organs from dissidents or the poor and giving them to wealthy citizens. Obviously, access to health records could be helpful not only in precision medicine using artificial intelligence but also… well, organ harvesting.

According to NY Post:

Meanwhile, wealthy people will file into purpose-built hospitals for lifesaving organ transplants. The selection of human kidneys, livers and other organs is vast.

That’s because thousands of people have been slaughtered to put them there. Organ harvesting is a lucrative business for the Chinese government.

That is the reality for thousands of Chinese citizens who have reportedly been subjected to forced medical testing for the purposes of organ harvesting for the best part of the past two decades.

China’s Communist Party continues to commit human rights atrocities on political prisoners in detention centers, labor camps and prisons across the country, according to reports.

No one is safe under the Communist Party’s regime, but practitioners of Falun Gong — a spiritual meditation based on the guiding principles of “truth, compassion and tolerance” — are the main targets.

The Chinese government banned Falun Gong in 1999 and has been mercilessly persecuting, torturing, killing and locking members up in “black jails” — a network of extra-legal labor camps and detention centers established by the Communist Party to detain citizens without charge or conviction.

While this is a worst-case scenario, the deeds and misdeeds of Apple’s partners need to be considered, right? And no one can argue that Apple certainly is a partner of China’s.

Guilt By Association?

So, Silicone Valley really wants your health records, and they especially want access to the genomic data within the Million Veterans Program.

The reason?

Tailored healthcare based on the DNA sequencing of individuals. That is the next big market and Silicone Valley is itching to jump in with both feet with Big Data.

According to CIO, personalized healthcare by 2020 will be as common as owning a cell phone:

Genome technology previously required multiple runs to assemble a genome. However, today assembly of an entire genome can be completed from a single run. Individual genome sequencing provides patients precision medicine by connecting biomarkers to clinical outcomes. Precision medicine is changing healthcare. This revolution impacts payers, providers, patients, government, and healthcare administrations.

By 2020, personalized healthcare will be a reality that will be as ubiquitous as owning a cell phone. Patients will no longer gamble in the game, waiting for symptoms to start manifesting, or hope for a diagnosis after enduring a lifetime of chronic illness. Precision medicine will extend the average life span by 10 percent, changing not only the length of lifespans but the quality of life.

This all sounds great, especially if you are a wealthy political operative who needs a new liver, but what about the rest of us down the road? Oh, it is convenient. In exchange for convenience, we give away access to all of the data anyone needs to market whatever product they want to us including designer organs.

My Take? Just Say No

Personally, I am not one to risk privacy over convenience in this scenario. Further, with Apple’s clear willingness to capitulate to dictators, including China, I cannot imagine why any sane individual would support a move like the one Apple is pitching in the back rooms of Mar-a-Lago.

Now, reports about the Mar-a-Lago negotiations with Trump insiders and VA is not new. It was reported this summer by ProPublica. The original piece, The Shadow Rules of the VA, barely addressed Apple’s negotiations, and discussion of Apple’s involvement with VA was largely downplayed in reporting.

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29 COMMENTS

  1. Cloud data mining has bothered me since being signed into Microsoft Cloud automatically and having my MS Office files automatically stored on MS Cloud. While backup and multi device access may seem friendly, it is one more exposure to identity theft.

    And imagine a Chinese Hack getting ahold of your VA compensation through your health records.

    • Easier done than said, Doc. Yeppers! Scary as fuck – – – but hey, no worries as we are a nation of laws – – – and before it is executed in full – – – our exalted ‘leaders’ will make sure that the legality of it is contained in a bill somewhere, and many lawyers have said that it is all on the up and up.

      Time to invoke the 1776 Law that says: Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

      Only been done once in United States history. Seems to me that some of us may live to see it inviked for the second time . . .

      • Yep, time for a Ben Franklin/Thomas Jefferson solution–one of those health insurrections–but now they are illegal and against section 4 of the 14th. Big risk. But time to march on Washington with scythes and sickles.

  2. Ben. You mean “Red China?” It’s too late to beat about the bush. Land in part where Apple uses child labor to lack of ethics in mineral mining? Ahh that’s okay just like it’s okay for our so-called allies to spy on us or put back doors in software or use spy chips for common American citizens and trained combat vets. Canada, the UK, Israel, Europe, Latins, MSM, Hollywood, etc., are all guilty of aiding in the destruction of this country and our so-called freedoms (sic), rights, or free speech (sic). Like having the best friends money and corruption can buy. Ain’t it? Those our government supports, protects, gives billions or trillions of tax dollars to and the idiots have allowed to own huge part of the country and borrows big money from too making our fearless leaders indebted to? Not to forget their pedophile and illegal organ deals. Plus allowing their comrades and workers to flood into America with special visas and have dual loyalties (mainly to their homeland) and vote here? All while most activist, commies, anti-Americans, and sheeple unlike Ostriches really bury their heads in the sands or up their butts to avoid some truths and facts. Bet I really pissed the trolls/activist off by now. So much for American first policies or claims. Truth hurts.

    I’ll pass on supporting Apple like other things or people the best I can.

    “Personalized healthcare by 2020?” Bull poop! One of the biggest killers today is medical mistakes and modern health care? Big Pharma and their junk? Can’t keep info true or connections straight locally but can go global?? Same with activist behind computers jacking with our files and info?? Demanding people suffer with pain cause some can’t be responsible with meds or the Gov claiming pain meds are akin to street dope and shouldn’t be allowed for the sheep? Suicide rates soaring going unreported. Corruption rampant and supported. Is that like the United Nation’s plans as usual with their claims of being global controllers by 2020 or 2030 at the latest? Let’s all bow to the mighty East and get chipped with all our info known world-wide? Like it hasn’t already happened. Oh the comforting thoughts of it all. Too late.

    Privacy rights and laws are a pure joke just like patient rights or Constitutional rights are today. People think they are safe from the SES, deep-state, SERCO crap, shadow gov or secretive societies, corrupt country club types, spies, activist, corrupt unions wanting globalism, or Greek society freaks?? Or from our so-called representatives or corrupt officials. Bull. Most Americans are living in unicorn land snorting media/Gov/Hollyweird’s/Silicon Valley fairy dust. We can spring-board all over the place playing connect the dots. Oh, while some claim protections (sic) for whistle-blowers, kids to rat out their parents for arguments or not being happy all the time for state workers to use (like not being PC enough), or LEO’s claims to report things “anonymously” by phone, email, etc? Social media to MSM cracking down more with censoring, hate or speech crap, and ignoring the sheep. Really? A few vets can’t go out and drink coffee in a restaurant to discuss issues only to be outnumbered or treated badly by the commies in the joint who are all for “Red China,” “Cultural Marxism,” and other enemies of “America?”

    “Privacy over convenience?” Again, too late. Just like with many other issues we face… too late. We don’t have that “freedom” any longer. Not even over our health issues or what we are allowed to obtain by the fascist. All the evil Genies are out of their bottles.

    • T…’Spot ON’… ☆
      Totally AGREE… ☆
      Sad, But True… ☆
      America Is/Has
      Been ‘SOLD’ to the
      ‘HIGHEST Bidder’=CHINA… 🙁

  3. Hold the phone a minute!

    First, thank you Ben for posting on this topic.
    Your header “MY TAKE? JUST SAY NO”, would be the cry of many but, as you’ll read below whether civilian or veteran, nobody has a choice anymore, except maybe the do-it-yourself therapies of olden days!

    Secondly, BE AWARE: ambulances throughout the country are, or soon will be using that Ap..e Al..a “app” on all of their runs. This may be the initial intent (excuse?) for the ‘VA as primary care’ patients regarding runs being made to the ‘closest hospital’.

    All three major players Ap..e, Go..e, and Fa..k, have their fingers in ALL of everybody’s business at all times, and whether or not a veteran, or as an intentional user of those products. I think that this wide spread lack of privacy regarding veterans health issues has its roots firmly planted in “Choice”. As ‘T’ has pointed out in the past, even the utility companies can access your VA medical records.

    Also, per info provided in Ben’s article, I now better understand POTUS’ response yesterday to a reporter that questioned global warming issues and the impact on our job market and economy. He responded to having no concerns, which I take now to mean, if there is billions enough in tax revenue from companies like Ap..e, privacy and any other future issues be damned, pocket lettuce rules all! Don’t forget those companies from half-baked ‘sounds good’ stuff that richly lined those pockets before bankruptcy saved that hide each and every time!

    • Many more opportunities for the ‘mistakes?’ which are relied upon to be taken as facts, and VHA staff refuses to correct in veteran medical records; some of which could be life threatening to a veteran patient, especially if the patient can not speak for themselves.

  4. Jack Ma at Alibaba is going to LOVE this deal. POTUS Trump took good care of veterans alright. Where is Lee Harvey Oswald when he is most sorely needed?

    • Harsh, but ….. now that I think about it. I was going to go with prayer/stroke/ticker, but that could be some garner me some bad juju. Hey – wait a minute. I thought Lee Harvey was a dupe and the deep state did it….

      • Chuckle. Well, if he was and they did, then we best get Mulder and Scully on the case. If it REALLY was ‘the Deep State’ then that would make that incident one of the oldest forms of procurement outsourcing in my lifetime.

        That 6.5×52mm Carcano Model 91/38 was Made in Italy.

  5. something tells me that most aps are more secure than the VA computer records. If that means I can take my records with me on the iPhone when I travel south for the winter, I’m all for it. When I get to Florida and attempt to get anything done at any VA down here, it’s like walking into a kinder garden. All I get from them is “why, how come and we don’t know”.

    • Well Peter that’s why I and many others that I know have hard copies of Their health records , it doesn’t cost anything to request these copies and it’s foolish not to have Them.

  6. Living in this country now days is analogous to being held hostage by a small group of idiots, The stupidity of are leaders is asstounding.

  7. Crap is all I can say anymore. It doesn’t make much difference who we vote into office anymore as they all have their own agenda not ours.

  8. The only thing VA has on me is dental records. They’ve tried forcing me into the MVP program which I have adamantly & steadfastly refused to partake. I don’t even give the VA my own piss. They script me 3 meds & that’s it. One PCP kept trying to force me into a gynie appt after I was already there 4X. That PCP is still waiting to give that exam 3 years later. See, I don’t trust VA. I always question what’s in it for VA or the provider. I also don’t use the Choice Act. I very selectively use VA. I always skirt on the boundaries taking what I need & leaving without giving them shit in return. && what’s funnier is VA or Apple either one thinking I would ever download a VA app let alone my health records. I have a completely clean & untraceable device for that. I also have paper copies stashed away in a very safe off site facility. I don’t mess around with the VA. I knew from the get go something was wrong with MVP. Just like I knew before I read your post I would never trust VA enough to download their app or my medical records to my phone via their app. I guess they think we’re all stupid 🙄

  9. I hope the major newspapers are made aware of all of this plus consequences.\

    It seems that “fake news” has informed the public of some very important things . This has to be made VERY public. Watch the backlash, but despite it, we still have a voice.

  10. Isn’t that a hoot since your average disabled veteran is not stuffed fat like VA employees with cash, so they probably couldn’t afford an overpriced iPhone.

    Who wants to support that company who sold out to the red star communist Chinese anyways?

    • Sounds too me like the communists are trying to lure and coax the capitalists into selling them the rope to hung us all with. And they’ll do it, anything to make a buck.

  11. Wow! This is downright scary. The VA is tied to the Dept. of Defense. Do we really want to allow the medical records of our veterans and the active military to be accessible by a known adversary that his little regard for human rights. The whole concept smacks of the wholesale gifting of human intelligence to the enemy. This is a real bad idea with big-time repercussions.

  12. I tend to agree with Ben’s “Just Say No” approach. But, I could be convinced if the VA actually benefited from the research, e.g. royalties etc. It’s Beltway deal junkies and lobbyists at the helm on this deal, so you know the VA will get hosed. Then there’s Apple: They’re sitting on $280 billion in cash and the need the VA? Something about sheep, wolves and clothing comes to mind.

    I wouldn’t have worried about the China connection had our Commander in Chief not done his sideshow deal with ZTE, e.g. letting them off the hook for espionage in exchange for some serious Chinese $$$ invested in a Trump property in Indonesia. Maybe he’s teaching Xi how to launder money through real estate and resorts…. ever the entrepreneur…

    Follow the money. Always follow the money.

  13. The Chinese Govt. is and Closely works with the Soviet Union regarding cybersecurity when it pertains to the US. Looks like the Privatization of the VA is Going along as Planned, the amount of Privacy and National Security Issues that will Potentially Occur. We Got the BIGGEST FKK TARD IN THE WHITE HOUSE it’s SOOO CRUCIAL that somehow find a way to get him out. He a Danger to US and the rest of this Society a Sociopath cares about NO ONE but HIMSELF he doesn’t give a fkk about his own Children

    • Not so sure about the children comment- ghe boys at the top of the Onion Tree also known as TS38’s made him an offer: Work for us or else bye bye to everything you are, what you can be and what your offspring will be. Does the name Kashogi ring a bell? That’s how they play and make no mistake they grow fresh onion every day (Onion is a metaphor for the actual system that’s in place). Some are just listening posts, others are kinetic but they all report upward to the 38 level. The President entered the game as a TS17 and he’s being educated by his bosses , allowed to advance according to the handlers ( Onion people). He willrun again because he works for them now. No friendly persuasion involved here, I don’t think he knew what he was getting in to if you know what I mean.

    • Not so sure about the children comment- ghe boys at the top of the Onion Tree also known as TS38’s made him an offer: Work for us or else bye bye to everything you are, what you can be and what your offspring will be. Does the name Kashogi ring a bell? That’s how they play and make no mistake they grow fresh onion every day (Onion is a metaphor for the actual system that’s in place). Some are just listening posts, others are kinetic but they all report upward to the 38 level. The President entered the game as a TS17 and he’s being educated by his bosses , allowed to advance according to the handlers ( Onion people). He willrun again because he works for them now. No friendly persuasion involved here, I don’t think he knew what he was getting in to if you know what I mean.

  14. Combat Vet sensing its time burn my iPhone down to ashes along with the traitors in our country- apple is pouring gas on the fire with this pitch. Why hasn’t google made a run at he VA or how about Amazonia with their sweetheart CIA cloud computing deal or have they. I suspect all the money hounds are after this.
    The truth for me is , I served honorably and did the dirty work that had to be done. Nobody told me when i put on that uniform I would be stripped of my civil rights and equal protection under the Constitution but we all know that once you serve you’re put on the Reservation like an indigent indian; you get no space to speak , no equal justice under the law and no representation in an independent judiciary–its all fake.. Instead you get tribunals and half wit judges and doctors of the same caliber with rolling -shine-on eyes at the VA . Try to get a claim approved. The CBO is pitching lines to cut Veteran Benefits- thanks. Its time for a constitutiion-al argument to dismantle the the Tribunes and not just at the VA but every little dictator running a cabinet level post. They all think they run an independent branch of government. Our President needs to find the strength to wield the plenary powers of the President and dismantle this corrupt state , NOT enable it.

  15. The Evarts Act of 1891 and subsequent 1922 Congressional acts gave thew little dictators their power to set up mini governments among themselves. Evidently the VA is hiding its Head behind this crud. We were schtupped by the Courts before we were ever born. Ask yourself , would you have served if you knew all of this when your were of enlistment age ( mine was 17). My answer is: HELL NO!

    • Had I known all of this when I was seventeen – – – I would have gone to Canada, rather than join the Marine Corps to evade the draft . . .

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