The U.S. National Healthcare Security Cloud

In April 2020, Kinsa, an American connected health company, announced a project tracking epidemic outbreaks with smart thermometers in collaboration with Benjamin Dalziel, an Associate Professor at Oregon State University. The project is based on Kinsa’s U.S. Health Weather Map which claimed to predict the flu season in the United States 12 weeks in advance.

On 20 March 2020, the government of Singapore launched a contact tracing app called TraceTogether. TraceTogether uses a peer-to-peer decentralized approach to log location, encounter, and proximity data between devices. Within 4 days, TraceTogether had been installed by more than 620,000 people.

On 23 March 2020, Israel’s Health Ministry launched Hamagen (“The Shield”), a smartphone app to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 that lets users know if they’ve been in contact with someone diagnosed with the virus in the last 14 days. On 18 March 2020, Israel passed an emergency law for 30 days, allowing Shin Bet, the security agency, to track the movement of all smartphone devices and send alerts to people who may have come into contact with someone infected with Covid-19. By 1 April 2020, 1.5 million Israelis had downloaded Hamagen.

As of 3 April 2020, the U.S. Government has not put in place technical contact tracing measures.

—-

This is a work of fiction, an imagination of a possible future based on actual events.

Everything that takes place from 15 April 2020 is invented.

# Spring 2021

On 15 April 2020, Jared Kushner received approval to start a stealth agency, HARPA: the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency. Based on a proposal by the Suzanne Wright Foundation, HARPA is modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects agency, responsible for the critical research and development of technologies like the internet, GPS, night vision and autonomous vehicles.

HARPA’s first and most urgent assignment is to develop and roll out a technologically advanced biodefense shield, protecting American’s from threats like covid-19.

On 1 March 2021, HARPA is publicly announced and the U.S. National Body Temperature Monitoring Infrastructure comes online, now under the management of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Alongside the announcement, President Trump attempts to use an Executive Order, citing the ongoing coronavirus emergency, requiring all Americans to use an FDA approved wearable, uploading their body temperature to the National Healthcare Security Cloud every 60 minutes. By 3pm Pacific Time on launch day, over 20 million smart health devices — Apple Watches, Fitbits and more — are automatically uploading temperature data.

In interviews following the announcement, Kushner touts an “unprecedented” public-private partnership with IBM, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft contributing to the complementary National Healthcare Security Cloud, run by Oracle, the fifth member of what will become known as T5, the Tech Group of Five.

Upon launch, Americans satisfying work requirements are eligible for a means-tested Federal grant or loan to purchase a qualifying Apple Watch or Google Fitbit device.

On March 3rd, 2 days after the launch of the National Body Temperature Monitoring Infrastructure, George Hotz is arrested by the FBI for falsifying data uploaded to the National Healthcare Security Cloud. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and ACLU represent Hotz.

# Summer 2021

With the Democratic National Party having narrowly lost the November 2020 Presidential Election and failing to capture the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell successfully passes a GOP campaign promise of tying individual responsibility with the nation’s healthcare security. On June 15, three months after National Healthcare Security Cloud, the eligibility requirements for any Federally funded social programs are amended to be contingent upon uploading data to the National Healthcare Security Cloud. This eligibility change, similar to expanded U.S. Department of Agriculture work requirements for SNAP made in 2020, is immediately challenged by States and the ACLU.

# Fall 2021

Kushner’s HARPA team continues to develop and prototype new capabilities for the National Healthcare Security Cloud, but by fall 2021, after months of attempting to integrate location data sourced from the National Security Agency, Kushner’s team successfully exerts political pressure to push Apple and Google to include location data from Apple and Android devices with the hourly temperature upload.

The addition of location data to temperature data isn’t made public until October 2021, when Propublica leaks evidence that FISA courts are allowing access to the National Healthcare Security Cloud, and that ICE has been using National Healthcare Security Cloud data for immigration enforcement. The ACLU immediately sues.

On 13 December 2021, a false automated National Healthcare Security alert is pushed out to 16 million Americans along the Eastern seaboard, ordering them to shelter in place.

The alert is played down in a statement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The President, in a Fox News phone interview, briefly comments on the alert as “a beautiful, beautiful thing, amazing technology, nothing like it in the world. It’s first class.”

The integrated alert system had not been made public. State governors immediately protest.

# Winter 2021-2022

On December 17th, The Intercept publishes a leaked classified report, finding that the Oracle-run National Healthcare Security Cloud was compromised by a state actor sometime in June 2021. It is unclear if the security breach has since been fixed. On the same day, the administration announces a new round of sanctions on China, allegations that the sanctions are linked to the security breach are denied by a White House press officer.

In late January 2022, the Washington Post breaks news that a further HARPA project has been secretly gathering heart rate and spO2 data from up to 20 million Americans, with the goal to extend gathering of that data from all citizens and residents. In a press conference, Kushner  acknowledges the project and announces that as of 9am Eastern Time the National Healthcare Security Cloud is now collecting spO2 and heart rate data from over 300 million users. Polls find that a majority of Americans approve the measures as appropriate for national healthcare security.

# Spring 2022

In March 2022, the National Healthcare Security Cloud successfully intervenes in a measles outbreak in Florida. The administration claims that without the National Healthcare Security Cloud, over 800 cases would have been expected.

The accomplishment is announced by President Trump and Jared Kushner at a campaign rally, accompanied by families of affected children.

On 3 April 2022, The New York Times publishes an investigation showing that a Silicon Valley startup used deep learning to identify pregnant women by combining data available on the open market with National Healthcare Security Cloud data.

This data was used by ICE for “Operation White”, a program targeting pregnant undocumented immigrants.

The administration acknowledges the program, praising the startup’s collaboration with ICE as an example of exceptional American innovation. In interviews, Kushner makes reference to “data-driven government” and “building a wall of algorithms backed by data” to keep Americans safe.

On 19 April 2022, Buzzfeed News publishes leaked National Healthcare Security Cloud data for an individual suspected to be President Trump.

An assessment of the individual’s data by an unnamed deep learning healthcare startup commissioned by Buzzfeed reveals significant, chronic health issues.

In mid May 2022, a group claiming to be “pro-life” hackers dumps a National Healthcare Security Cloud dataset online. The dataset allegedly identifies women who have had abortions in the last 12 months. A subreddit claims to deanonymize ~80% of the individuals. Reddit management immediately quarantine the subreddit and delete the data, but it is already being distributed elsewhere on the internet.

On 26 May 2022, Trump refers to the pro-life hacking group’s release at a rally in Mississippi, calling it a “beautiful thing”. Trump remarks that the women identified “aren’t really Americans” and that the hackers and subreddit who deanonymized the data are “true patriots, not those dirty, disgusting guys in the basement hacking the election”.

At 10am Pacific Time on Friday 27 May 2022, Apple publishes a statement withdrawing its participation from the National Healthcare Security Cloud. All 120 million Apple Watch and Airpod wearables stop uploading data to the National Healthcare Security Cloud by 8pm Pacific Time that evening.

# Summer 2022

On 23 June 2022, President Trump prompts a constitutional crisis, ordering all borders shut to foreign travelers. Trump cites an unspecified imminent National Healthcare Security threat. The White House refuses to provide or declassify National Healthcare Security data for congressional review, implying interference from China.

At a press conference confirming indefinite closure of U.S. borders, Trump remarks that “I’ve seen the data, it’s very scary data, tremendously scary but we’ve shut it down. We’ve shut it down. I’ve always known this would happen, I was the first to take the coronavirus seriously. And you know where this virus is spreading? It’s in those filthy blue states. It’s in California. It’s in the shitholes.”

In a phone interview with Fox News, Trump adds: “This new technology is amazing and it’s showing us some beautiful maps. It’s American technology. Nobody has anything like this.  I’ve seen beautiful maps, they’re so detailed. Larry, he’s a great tech guy, Larry showed me. And you know who’s spreading it? Democrats.”

The following day, Trump remarks that the State of California should be under quarantine and that he is “looking at it, maybe it’s a thing we need to do. I’m keeping an eye on it. It’s very serious, we can’t have them doing this.”

On 2 August 2022, the ACLU sues the administration, alleging that protected healthcare information is being used to justify political imprisonment under the cover of public health and national security.

As of Labor Day 2022, National Healthcare Security Cloud data remains classified and has not been reviewed by Congress.