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INFORMATION/TRANSPARENCY/CONFIDENTIALITY/SEMIOTICS AND PUBLIC HEALTH
In this issue, we have a strong flavour about various aspects of information and public health. Beginning with Speaker’s Corner, where Bernard Choi and his colleague Ali Mokdad draw our attention to the emerging problems posed to researchers by the widespread ownership of cell phones. They are playing “ducks and drakes” with health surveyors’ denominators. Of equal significance might be the logistic problems posed by attempts to stop the “leakage” of confidential health information. This leads to ever tighter controls over the information that is the lifeblood of epidemiologists and population health researchers. Choi and Mokdad’s solution is a legal framework that imposes stiff penalties on whoever releases or misuses personal data, while protecting researchers’ access to it. See page 823 …