Facebook can be a double-edged sword, a Canadian woman learned when an insurance company cut her health benefits, claiming she was healthy after seeing pictures of her smiling in bikini at the beach.
Nathalie Blanchard, 29, took long-term sick leave from her job at IBM in Bromont, Quebec, more than a year ago for severe depression. She was receiving monthly benefits from her insurance company, Manulife.
When Blanchard called Manulife to inquire why the payments dried up, the insurance company said that “I’m available to work, because of Facebook,” she told CBC television.
She said that Manulife cited several pictures Blanchard had posted on her social networking website page, including some showing her enjoying herself during a male strip-tease show at a Chippendales bar, celebrating her birthday and bathing in the sun.
Based on these postings, the firm claimed Blanchard was no longer depressed.
Manulife declined to comment on the incident but said in a statement that “we would not deny or terminate a valid claim solely based on information published on websites such as Facebook.”
But the company did recognize that it uses such information to learn more about their clients.
Privacy rights may become next victim of killer pandemic
Digital surveillance and smartphone technology may prove helpful in containing the coronavirus pandemic -- but some activists fear this could mean lasting harm to privacy and digital rights.
From China to Singapore to Israel, governments have ordered electronic monitoring of their citizens' movements in an effort to limit contagion. In Europe and the United States, technology firms have begun sharing "anonymized" smartphone data to better track the outbreak.
These moves have prompted soul-searching by privacy activists who acknowledge the need for technology to save lives while fretting over the potential for abuse.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards honors staffer who died from COVID-19
Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA) offered a moving tribute to a member of his staff who died from COVID-19.
"On behalf of the first lady and my entire administration, it is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of our dear April, who succumbed to complications from COVID-19," he posted on Twitter, along with photos.
"She brightened everyone’s day with her smile and was an inspiration to everyone who met her," he continued.
"She lived her life to the fullest and improved the lives of countless Louisianans with disabilities as a dedicated staff member in the Governor's Office of Disability Affairs. April worked hard as an advocate for herself & other members of the disability community," he wrote.
Washington state nurses share shocking stories from their war against coronavirus
by Ken Armstrong and Vianna Davila
Nurses at one hospital in southeastern Washington state have alleged that, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they were ordered by supervisors to use one protective mask per shift, potentially exposing themselves to the novel coronavirus.
At another hospital, just east of Seattle, nurses had to use face shields indefinitely.
At a third hospital, on Washington’s border with Oregon, nurses reported that respirators were expired. The hospital responded, the nurses said, by ordering staff to remove stickers showing that the respirators might be as much as three years out of date.