Free Exercise and Vaccine Mandates: The Least Restrictive Means
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Free Exercise and Vaccine Mandates: The Least Restrictive Means

Vaccine mandates without religious exemptions (or as enforceable against those claiming free exercise) are in uncertain legal terrain. Nineteen states mandate vaccines for healthcare workers, but vary as to religious exemptions. The medical value of mandates with and without exemptions depends on the number of people who successfully claim exemptions or stall in becoming vaccinated…

Fair Compensation for Data: Privacy, Blockchain, Ethics, and Data Science Converge

Fair Compensation for Data: Privacy, Blockchain, Ethics, and Data Science Converge

When we look at privacy, many goals converge. I separate constitutional privacy and protection from government surveillance from personal confidentiality. Having explored whether one can survive without the other, I remain uncertain. But I am certain that a balance of values would lead to more fairness and that confidentiality is not the only important ethical…

Undermining Obesity Solutions: The Unspoken Tension Between Bioethics and Nutrition & Fitness
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Undermining Obesity Solutions: The Unspoken Tension Between Bioethics and Nutrition & Fitness

Obesity, one of the prominent and predictable risk factors for severe COVID-19, was not highlighted as much as it should have been from the early pandemic on. It, and arguably other comorbidities and chronic health problems associated with it, seemed to be played down compared to other issues. Most importantly, in discussing obesity, there was…

From OR to EMR: Informed Consent’s Rocky Transition to Data

From OR to EMR: Informed Consent’s Rocky Transition to Data

Hackable Part 4 A hyper-focus on informed consent as the primary tool to ensure autonomy represents some lapses in the field of bioethics. To me, informed consent is more valuable in traditional clinical care or medical research than in engagement with big data. Yet consent is the operational tool behind widespread data collection and the…

Resilience: The Role of Reactive Critical Thinking in Bouncing Back from Disasters and Disruptors

Resilience: The Role of Reactive Critical Thinking in Bouncing Back from Disasters and Disruptors

Resilience is a form of political capital and a necessary element for health and wellbeing. A resilient democracy might weather distress, just as a resilient person might, but what are the prerequisites of such resilience? The ability of physical, political, economic, and social structures and people to bounce back from socioeconomic, political, climate-related, or health…

COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy: The “Misunderstanding Science” Issue Is Just a Symptom
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COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy: The “Misunderstanding Science” Issue Is Just a Symptom

COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy requires a trust-based solution. A response to societal problems should be steeped in social solutions. Science does the most good if it coexists with public trust. A focus on misunderstanding science as a primary reason for refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccine distracts from failing to believe scientists and the other reasons…

Hackable:  Children’s Digital Literacy and Voluntary Disclosure
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Hackable: Children’s Digital Literacy and Voluntary Disclosure

(Part 3 of series) Children and young adults spend significant time online using apps that collect massive amounts of information, but they may lack digital literacy. Schools also collect much more information than they used to. The voluntarily divulged information in an online profile plus any hackable identifiable data make children vulnerable to future and…

Compromise: The Purpose of and Limitations on Religious Exemptions
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Compromise: The Purpose of and Limitations on Religious Exemptions

Vaccine mandates, arguably the most preventive and protective measure to address COVID-19 and to prevent death, require a more organized ethical analysis, streamlined to include the considerations appropriate for government, employers, or other stakeholders, yet broad enough to incorporate largescale considerations like the potential political cost. This post examines the role of religious exemptions viewed…

Voluntariness— Empowering Informed Consent in Medicine, Technology, and Data Privacy
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Voluntariness— Empowering Informed Consent in Medicine, Technology, and Data Privacy

Voluntariness at the time one provides data is an important, overlooked part of providing informed consent. In medicine, informed consent requires voluntariness, yet the on-the-ground experience may reveal pressures to comply. The new landscape of responsible technology, while it incorporates certain types of consent like clicking to accept cookies, needs more definition and clarity around…

Hackable: Schools and Children’s Private Medical Records
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Hackable: Schools and Children’s Private Medical Records

Part 2 in a series on privacy The ethics literature on cybersecurity rarely focuses specifically on children’s data stored by or for schools. Critical analysis should inform an ethics debate over the collection, storage, and use of children’s medical records at the foundational level. Hackers have breached vulnerable websites of labs, insurers, and hospitals. While…