Here’s How One German Artist Turned the Tables on the Surveillance State

Florian Freier embraced [the reality of living in a surveillance state] and turned it against Germany’s surveillance state in his project Cached Landscapes, using Google Maps to watch the watchers. The irony is he didn’t take the photos, or even the screenshots featured in his elaborate composite images. All of them were pulled from a subfolder holding a thumbnail cache of every web page he visits. It’s a fascinating yet unsettling look at observation and surveillance, proving that even when you’re spying on others, someone probably is spying on you…

Some time before beginning the project, Freier learned every time he visited a page or clicked around on a map online, his browser cached an image—something he discovered while digging through his hard drive. For Cached Landscapes, he did it intentionally, using Google Maps to explore sites believed to be key to German’s signals-intelligence (SIGINT) apparatus—US and German military bases, embassies and the like…

How Whole Foods Exploits Prison Labor

The renowned “green capitalist” organic supermarket chain pays what are effectively indentured servants in the Colorado prison system a mere $1.50 per hour to farm organic tilapia.

Colorado prisons already grow 1.2 million pounds of tilapia a year, and government officials and their corporate companions are chomping at the bit to expand production.

Whole Foods also buys artisinal cheeses and milk cultivated by prisoners. The prison corporation Colorado Correctional Industries has created what Fortune describes as “a burgeoning $65 million business that employs 2,000 convicts at 17 facilities.”

The base pay of these prison workers is 60¢ per day. Whole Foods purchases cheeses from these prisons, which literally pay prison laborers mere pennies an hour, and subsequently marks up the price drastically…

So many profiting from the drug war…  it’s rather nauseating.

UCLA Health System reports data breach, millions affected

UCLA Health is the latest healthcare organization to be hit by a data breach. The Los Angeles hospital and healthcare network says it discovered on May 5 that hackers had penetrated the parts of the UCLA Health system that contain personal information, like name, address, date of birth, social security number, medical record number, Medicare or health plan ID number, and some medical information (e.g., medical condition, medications, procedures, and test results).

UCLA said it notified the FBI but didn’t say why it took it took more than two months to notify the 4.5 million patients whose records may have been accessed…

Steps for Responding to Social Security Number Breach…

4. BE WARY OF PHISHING ATTEMPTS. If you get an email or call from someone claiming to be from Anthem and asking for your personal information, do not provide it. Scammers often take advantage of breaches by offering to help and actually seeking to steal your information. Check with Anthem through the phone number you usually use or one from the phone book, if you want to confirm that such a contact is legitimate.

Customer card data compromised at CVSphoto

The pharmacy chain CVS took down its CVS Photo website today and replaced it with a warning that “customer credit card information collected by the independent vendor who manages and hosts may have been compromised.”

The company is shutting down access to online and mobile photo services “as a precaution” while the investigation goes on.

Security expert Brian Krebs, who first called attention to the breach this morning, also noted that Walmart Canada discovered a similar breach in its online photo site last week.

The announcement on says that “Customer registrations related to online photo processing and are completely separate from and our pharmacies,” and that transactions in-store or at don’t appear to be affected.

The company promises to offer updates as more information becomes available, and in the meantime, anyone seeking more information is invited to call 1-800-SHOP-CVS.

Specialty Pharmacies Proliferate, Along With Questions

SINKING SPRING, Pa. — As the end of each month nears, Megan Short frets. Her 1-year-old daughter, Willow, cannot afford to miss even a single dose of a drug she takes daily to prevent her body from rejecting her transplanted heart.

Because of stringent rules from her drug plan and the pharmacy she is required to use, Ms. Short cannot order a refill until her monthly supply is three-quarters gone. Yet processing a refill takes about seven days, making it touch and go whether the new shipment will arrive before the old one runs out.

“You just feel like every month, you’re hoping that they don’t mess it up,” said Ms. Short, who lives in this town about 70 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

Ms. Short is not dealing with her corner drugstore but with a so-called specialty pharmacy, a new breed of drug dispensary…

But as specialty pharmacies proliferate, questions are emerging about their role and business practices.

Interviews with patients, patient advocates and doctors suggest that specialty pharmacies do not always live up to their billing. There can be onerous refill policies that require hours on the phone, shipments that are delayed or error-ridden, and difficulty reaching a pharmacist or other representatives.

Moreover, many patients are limited to one specialty pharmacy — often one owned by their insurer or pharmacy benefit manager and requiring delivery of drugs by mail. That leaves patients without options if they are dissatisfied…

Consumer Watchdog, a consumer advocate group, has sued four insurance companies over their policies of restricting the pharmacies that patients can use to obtain drugs for H.I.V. Three of the companies — Anthem Blue Cross of California, UnitedHealthcare and Aetna — have since changed their policies to provide more options for H.I.V. patients. The most recent of the lawsuits, against Cigna, was filed in April…

Federal prosecutors are seeking as much as $3.3 billion in a whistle-blower lawsuit against the drug maker Novartis…  Accredo, the specialty pharmacy owned by Express Scripts, agreed in April to pay $60 million to settle civil fraud charges in this matter…