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April 24, 2010

Wellpoint insurance caught targeting women diagnosed with breast cancer, and canceling their insurance

They use a computer program to automatically search for women diagnosed with breast cancer and to then cancel their policies. That means some guy actually wrote that program. If anyone knows him, could you tell us his name please? Or better yet, could you punch him in the nuts every day for the rest of his life? Corrected: WellPoint routinely targets breast cancer patients | Reuters
(Reuters) - Shortly after they were diagnosed with breast cancer, each of the women learned that her health insurance had been canceled. There was Yenny Hsu, who lived and worked in Los Angeles. And there was Patricia Reilling, a successful art gallery owner and interior designer from Louisville, Kentucky. Neither of these women knew about the other. But besides their similar narratives, they had something else in common: Their health insurance carriers were subsidiaries of WellPoint, which has 33.7 million policyholders -- more than any other health insurance company in the United States. The women paid their premiums on time. Before they fell ill, neither had any problems with their insurance. Initially, they believed their policies had been canceled by mistake. They had no idea that WellPoint was using a computer algorithm that automatically targeted them and every other policyholder recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The software triggered an immediate fraud investigation, as the company searched for some pretext to drop their policies, according to government regulators and investigators.
PS Dear Teabaggers, when you fight against "ObamaCare" you are explicitly fighting for shit like this to continue

Facebook is basically trying to be AOL circa 1995

Raph’s Website -- Facebook rebrands the Internet Facebook wants to be your portal to the internet. They want everything you do to be wrapped in a Facebook shell, tracked, advertised, and monetized by Facebook. I say, no thanks. Raph Koster lays out where he thinks AOLFacebook is going. The whole thing is worth reading.
Step one: Facebook is going to make the whole Internet a community space. Everywhere you go, you will see what your friends liked on sites. You will know what movies they watched, what CNN articles they read, what YouTube videos they thought were funny. You will see their streams and comments annotating the Internet everywhere you go. And they will be able to reach out and chat to you on the chat bar at the bottom of your browser. Step two: Facebook is going to be your identity card for the Internet. Facebook has always aimed at being the only login you will need. With this, they have made a strong play to have you just always be logged into Facebook, everywhere on the internet. All the top sites you use will simply expect you to be logged in, and over time we will see that functionality on the site will start to require this identity information. And soon after that, you will have to be on Facebook even if you don’t want to be. Step three: Facebook will aggregate this data into a new type of search. Everything you do, all your opinions weighted by your like factor aka reputation), the combined graph data and aggregated community information, will be funneled back into the centralized database to form what today are called “pages.” This will become something akin to Wikipedia pages over time, only with constantly changing data and editorializing. Wikipedia data itself will be just a tab on this page. Amazon-style recommendation engines — and likely space for e-commerce — will sit alongside this; imagine a Wikipedia page on, say, a music recording, with an “you may also like” tab. Step four: Facebook will be your virtual wallet. Once identity is everywhere but most importantly, secured on Facebook’s servers, then it will make more sense to buy on the Internet with those than with Paypal or a credit card. Especially since this virtual currency will be earned in any number of ways, such as via loyalty programs, frequent visitor programs, etc. Virtual currency will be used as a retention device and as a cross-promotional tool by businesses. Step five: Facebook will push this into the real world, and become your id card for reality. You will come to the movie theater and walk up to the self-serve kiosk to buy your tickets. Under each movie will be the list of friends who liked it and their comments. You went in expecting to see one thing, but the theater knows you — and it tells you in no uncertain terms that you are going to like this other movie better. And you’ll pick based on those social recommendations. You will swipe your Credits card to buy your movie ticket using some credits you earned with the loyalty program in Farmville, and swipe it again to get into the theater. You watch the movie, which helpfully tells all your friends where you are and what you are doing. Any status updates you make from your phone during the movie are tagged with the movie, and get cross-referenced on the movie’s page on Facebook.com; after the first day, there’s a complete plot synopsis, review summary, and critical exegesis available there. When you leave, you wave your card at the “like” podium as you leave the movie — more loyalty points, more free tickets.
[much more at the link]