🩺 Is Amazon Clinic safe to use?
May 3, 2023
In partnership with GetRefunds.com
Wednesday is comin’ in hot! Trivia time. Which of these tech companies was founded first? Google, Yahoo, Adobe, Apple or Microsoft. Bonus points if you can put them all in order.
Glad you’re here because we have a lot of tech news and advice to dive into … And because writing this newsletter for just me would be a real bummer. Want me to address something in a future issue? Reply to this email! — Kim
IN THIS ISSUE
TODAY’S TOP STORY
Amazon Clinic: Bright idea or privacy boo-boo?
It’s one thing for Amazon to know what kind of dishwasher tabs you use and which socks you wear. It’s entirely another for it to have your health records.
Book an appointment through the new Amazon Clinic, and you’ll meet with a clinician who can prescribe medication for anything from allergies to high cholesterol.
Here’s the thing: Amazon does not provide the care itself. It’s a middleman between you and the people who will treat you. And that’s where the problems begin.
Not-so-protected health information
Though Amazon declares it is “compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA),” there’s more to the fine print.
When you sign up for treatment through Amazon Clinic, you also “authorize” all those involved (doctors, pharmacies and labs) to share your Protected Health Information, or PHI, with Amazon. That includes:
Amazon has the right to “retain, use and disclose this information” for two purposes: If a healthcare provider you used through Amazon Clinic leaves, Amazon will set you up with another one.
Amazon can also use your PHI to “facilitate services from other providers.” Who exactly are these providers? Doctors? Other businesses looking to target you with ads related to your condition? It’s not clear.
The HIPAA in the room
Say you’ve given Amazon the go-ahead to use and disclose your PHI. Amazon may also “redisclose” this information and “this redisclosure will no longer be protected by HIPAA.” Confused? That’s the point.
Remember, Amazon Clinic is not a clinic. It connects you with third parties, which in turn provide telehealth services with clinicians. Reminds me of those Russian stacking dolls …
Amazon is held to different standards when it comes to HIPAA, and you’d need an experienced lawyer to determine where Amazon’s permissions begin and end.
Here’s my take:
Don’t sign up for Amazon Clinic. Ask your doctor for medical advice or find a reputable clinic for treatment. There’s no reason to hand over your most private information to a company known to play fast and loose with data.
If you’ve already used Amazon Clinic and have second thoughts, you can revoke your authorization. Of course, Amazon makes it difficult, but I’ll walk you through it here.
🐰 Tell this one to a friend: A priest, a pastor and a rabbit walked into a blood donation clinic. The nurse asked the rabbit, “What’s your blood type?” The rabbit replied, “I’m probably a type O.”
DEAL OF THE DAY
Work smarter: New to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides: A search box where you can type what you want to do in normal, everyday language. Sure beats digging around tool menus. In Sheets, you can type “remove column,” or in a Doc, try, “Who last edited this?” Handy!
Keep the receipts: Your 2023 taxes might be trickier than last year’s. The IRS is now monitoring what you sell on sites like Etsy, eBay and Facebook Marketplace and through payment processors like PayPal, Square or CashApp. If you make $600 or more on a platform, you’ll get a 1099-K form to report the income. This doesn’t need to be a side hustle, btw. The rules apply if you sell your old car, appliances or anything else worth good money. Yeah, thanks.
Microtransactions, not just for games: It’s Elon Musk’s latest idea to generate revenue for Twitter. When you hit a paywall on a website, you’re prompted to subscribe to pay for a subscription. Twitter’s new “one-click” model will let you pay for one-off articles. No word yet on costs. Would you pay for Twitter articles? Tell me here.
Sad story: A 75-year-old Georgia woman sold her home because a guy she met on Facebook kept asking for cash. She sent the lowlife $95,000. They never met in real life. Before you think, “Who’d ever fall for that?” … Americans lost $1.3 billion to scams like this in 2022.
That’s electrifying: The lack of charging stations is one of the biggest arguments against electric vehicles (EVs). Sweden’s “e-motorway” could fix that. It’s a planned 13 miles of highway that will allow vehicles to recharge while driving. In other news, before Elon Musk got into EVs, he was known as simply Lon Musk.
Birds, bees and … robots? The first babies conceived using a robot were just born. Engineers in Barcelona created a bot that’s the latest breakthrough in automated in vitro fertilization (IVF). Fun fact: The bot is controlled using a PlayStation 5 controller. I’ll let you come up with your own joke …
🎧 Want great content on the go?
Sound like a tech pro, even if you’re not one. Try my award-winning, daily podcast. Search for my last name with “K” wherever you get your podcasts and “Go Komando!”
Rumor has it: Google I/O edition
Tech companies go all out when they want to show off new gear and Google I/O is no exception. I have the inside scoop on what to expect at Google’s massive annual tech show next week!
New flagship phones: The much-anticipated Pixel 8 and 8 Pro probably won’t make an appearance so soon after the launch of the Pixel 7. Instead, keep your eyes peeled for the streamlined 7a’s grand entrance. It’s got most of the bells and whistles at a lower price, around $500.
Joining the fold: Google’s been hinting at a foldable phone for a while now. It could be similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4. Translation: A fancy OLED screen on the outside and an even bigger, fancier one on the inside. It’ll cost ya, though. We’re talking $1,900 for the top model! Ouch.
Size (and price) matters: The rumored Pixel tablet is gunning for the iPad, with fast hardware and a killer screen. Best of all, it could come in at a cool $300 (the latest iPad starts at $449). A tall order, but this might be a contender — especially in a down market.
For more rumors, including what’s coming with Google’s AI Bard, hit my site.
Keep an eye out for intruders — even with bad Wi-Fi
If you live in an area where getting solid Wi-Fi coverage is a real pain, monitoring your property remotely with a security camera is still possible. I get this question often enough that I wanted to drop some tips and links here for you.
🏠 Need a whole-home security system? My pick is SimpliSafe.* Easy to set up and no expensive contracts.
👁️🗨️ Who is the patron saint of surveillance? St. Francis of a CCTV.
I got way more gov’t money back with this tool
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Whoa! I found out I was owed $400,000. Seriously. This is not PPP. It’s different. It’s the Employee Retention Credit. If you kept your full-time or equivalent employees on payroll during COVID, you could get a huge refund, too.
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BY THE NUMBERS
The total deposits in Apple’s savings account in its first four days. It offers a 4.15% annual percentage yield, about 10 times the national average. All you need to sign up is an iPhone.
The new length of parental leave for Twitter employees. Elon Musk cut it down from 20 weeks. There’s no national mandate on parental leave, so anything beyond two weeks is up to the law in the region where employees work. Let’s just say no one’s gonna be moving to Twitter for the benefits …
The number of AirTags the NYPD is giving out for free. The 43rd precinct in the Bronx is handing out trackers as car thefts rise. Smart idea. I have them in my cars, too.
WHAT THE TECH?
The horse’s name is Mayo. And Mayo neighs.
UNTIL NEXT TIME …
The answer: Microsoft, founded in 1975. Followed by Apple in 1976, Adobe in 1982, Yahoo in 1994 and Google in 1998.
💪🏻 If you made it all the way down here, I appreciate you. And if I can help you with a digital dilemma, drop me a note here. See you tomorrow! — Kim
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