BELL: Tech trust

The North State Journal | Madeline Gray

Isn’t it crazy that a hacker could kill diabetic patients by rigging their insulin pumps to overdose them?
Apparently not. Johnson & Johnson warned J&J Animas OneTouch Ping insulin pump users Monday of this possibility (“J&J warns diabetic patients Insulin pump vulnerable to hacking”).I formerly believed this was the stuff of nightmares and horror movies, but Big Brother is truly coming to get us now. While technology has advanced society and made the world a better place, it also threatens mass destruction.
There are 114,000 compromised J&J Animas OneTouch Ping insulin pumps in use today. If all of these pumps were hacked and their users were killed, the number dead would be 38 times the number dead from the 9/11 terror attacks.
However, this pump was designed with good intent. Its wireless remote control was meant to increase convenience by allowing a patient to dose insulin without reaching for the pump. But how much are you willing to pay for convenience?
It’s unlikely that patients would be attacked because of the proximity required to hack the wireless signals of the pumps, but stranger things have happened. How can J&J continue to “urge patients to stay on the product”?
We need to start thinking through the consequences of creating new technology before realizing, eight years after its inception, that it could harm many users. Technology can do good, but it is not to be messed with.
So, how willing are you to trust technology?
Mary Grady Bell