Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Vaccine Waitlist Service ‘Dr. B’ Is Not Legally Obligated to Protect the Health Information It Collected From Over Two Million People

Mia Sato, MIT Technology Review:

I searched for people who had used Dr. B to actually receive a vaccination. I made phone calls to and exchanged messages with people who had signed up. I scoured online forums and neighborhood groups across the country. But after weeks of looking, I was unable to identify a single individual who successfully got a shot through the service. Instead, I heard from dozens of people all over the country who signed up but only received notice of available vaccines long after they had already been vaccinated elsewhere, as well as many others who say they were never contacted by the company after initial registration.

[…]

To find out more, I asked Dr. B itself how many people it had gotten vaccinated. But after a series of verbal and written requests, and in an interview with its founder, Dr. B refused to say how many vaccines it had helped deliver, or to offer any other measure of success.

So I was left wondering: Did Dr. B achieve what it set out to do? And what is the company doing with its huge list of people’s names, locations, contact information, and health conditions?

I do not love doubt sown by an absence of information. But one comes away from this investigation with the distinct impression that Dr. B is a temporary entity that is taking advantage of a global pandemic to collect information for later use. That, or it is a legitimate company that exists solely to connect people to vaccine doses, yet has no record of success and its founder becomes evasive when asked even basic questions.

Update: For those who signed up for Dr. B and would like to remove their data, the Markup’s Julia Angwin posted the relevant section of the company’s privacy policy on Twitter.