iPhone 5 Has Hackers Rejoicing, Sends Government to Walgreens, Should You Be Worried?
As Apple-enthusiasts and would-be hackers eagerly await the iPhone 5 with hopes that it will contain a chip that puts your wallet in your phone, New York’s Governor Cuomo signs legislation designed to combat abuse of prescription pills issued by pharmacies.
The law supposedly facilitates investigation and prosecution of prescription fraud and prescription abuse and requires that all prescriptions be electronically transmitted.
“Too many families . . . have suffered the loss of a teenager or youth as a result of prescription drug abuse,” Governor Cuomo said.
Attorney General Schneiderman added: “New York has enacted the most comprehensive system [nationwide] to protect the public from the devastating consequences of prescription drug abuse.”
Criminal defense lawyers and prosecutors alike sharpen their pencils, or stencils as it were, awaiting the next influx of criminal cases. But will the AG’s office get it right? Or could this new system leave you shopping for a criminal attorney to defend against charges over prescription pills purchased by purloiners? Probably.
Key to this is New York’s streamlined prescription monitoring program (I-STOP) and modernizing the DoH’s Prescription Monitoring Program Registry. The lofty goal: Become a leading state in the nation’s effort to monitor prescription drug abuse. Monitor and prosecute “abusers” and pharmacies is not a stated goal but you can be sure “Enforcement” is the AG’s tacit love-child who will be eagerly strolling the virtual, cyber-aisles at Duane Reade.
The law will take New York from paper to e-prescribing for nearly all controlled substances. E-prescribing is ostensibly critical to help NY eliminate the crime of prescription fraud.
But is this enough? Maybe more importantly, is it feasible? While the world is becoming more and more electronically wired – apps and smart phones such as the new iPhone 5 are making contact-less transactions an everyday exercise – is New York technologically prepared for this fast-evolving present and future, and for the pitfalls of adopting a new technology without borders?
Already it is possible to go to the pharmacy and scan a prescription. Pharmacy chain apps, such as the one touted by Walgreens, are readily available for smart phones right now where you can order pharmaceutical prescriptions and refills. The iPhone 5 may make it possible to take this another level- so that hackers could order prescriptions in your name and using your bank account. If so, you could at least theoretically, end up with the DEA or AG’s office at your door wondering why you ordered so many prescription narcotics.
For prescription fraud hackers the near-field communications (NFC) chip is here. A wireless communication protocol already field-tested at the 2012 Olympics, it supports data transmission over short distances between NFC-equipped devices. Embedded in a smartphone, such as the iPhone 5, it can be exploited to possibly highjack that device’s browser. Suddenly banking fraud or pharmaceutical crime seems that much easier.
Does NY naively believe that hackers won’t find a way to circumvent NY’s new legislation by breaking into NFC-enabled devices and stealing drug prescription information? To combat this, the government might be better off keeping prescription filling in the stone ages, where most government offices are most comfortable anyway. Cyberspace is the modern-day Bonnie & Clyde tommy gun and getaway car. NY’s AG wants to close the gap on prescription fraud by mandating paperless refills and orders.
To what extent could this potentially become a new field of crime – immense quantities of prescription drugs being illegally ordered, courtesy of unsuspecting victims? With this alarming possibility in mind, is the New York agency equipped right now to tackle pharmaceutical crime at this level? It seems that for the new legislation to be effective one would have to believe NY’s state government will be able to keep pace with Apple and the multi-billion dollar industry that pours its unlimited resources into the ever-shifting landscape of technology and the cybercriminals who exploit it.