Practically every person lives in fear.
In this case the department, and the bunny chosen to speak to the press, is hiding behind a screen that has been used for over a decade.
There is no logical reason for revealing the total number of patients. That data is a level ABOVE the level of data that details a patient. We call it meta-data.
There is an emotional reason for not revealing the number, and that reason is FEAR.
Sadly, the Toronto Public Library uses the same irrational basis about me. If I ask for a machine-readable file that details my loans over, say, the past two years, the library says it can’t do that “due to customer privacy laws”.
But less than a second’s thought will reveal that that is absolute crap. I expect better-quality crap from the Toronto Public Library.
In the name of all that is STUPID, how can it be a breach of my privacy to reveal details about my transactions to ME?
The Royal Bank of Canada uses the same puerile (think “immature” or “childish”) reasoning when it tells me that it can’t reveal why my debit card didn’t work because “it would violate my privacy”.
This is called puerile-reasoning because if my debit-card has been rejected, it would actually help me with my relationship with the vendor-of-the-minute if I could learn that (a) my debit card is on the blink or (b) the RBC system is down or (c) I don’t have enough cash in the account or (d) there is a cheque waiting to be cleared – bearing in mind that bank computer systems are so slow that it can take “up to five business days” to clear a cheque.
I would laugh if I didn’t feel like crying.