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 Post subject: Anti-Doping Agency and hacking
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 3:20 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:25 pm
Posts: 134
Here's something that has me apoplectic. (Not apoplectic in the sense that the Steelers picked a long snapper in the next-to-last round instead of someone who won't make the team, but still apoplectic.)

I have a kid who competes in a sport regulated by one of the US amateur bodies. Competing at certain levels subjects these amateurs to random drug tests. A coup of years ago I looked into the drugs covered and I discovered my kid was prescribed one of these. It's no more performance-enhancing than antihistamine. But rules are rules, and the agency allows use if you obtain a Temporary Use Exemption. So I obtained and had the kid fill out the application. This required all sorts of work. Doctor had to fill out form. (This cost me $300 get him to do it and it's not covered by insurance.) Plus coaches, etc. had to fill out form and a bunch of other records were required. You can imagine that any agency given the chance to inquire into someone's medical background is going to be pretty invasive.

Anyway, the kid got the TUE (because, as I said, it really isn't performance-enhancing). DIGRESSION: The interesting part of this was when I first brought up the matter to the doctor and coach, both explained to me how the drug could easily be masked. In other words, there is no way it could be detected (with current technology) in piss or blood test. And given that it really isn't performance-enhancing, there will be little incentive to refine tests to catch this drug. But being an asshole (i.e., play-by-the-rules guy), I went through the process to make sure the kid was not violating any rule, however stupid or undetectable. When I got the TUE, the agency couldn't leave well enough alone, so it gave "helpful hints" on how to improve the application in 3 years when the current TUE expires. That is, by giving even more information. BACK TO STORY:

This had so far receded from my memory that it was a shock to get a letter from the USADA this week. And this is the gist of what they said:

Their database was hacked. Per independent cyber security investigators (confirmed by FBI), the hack was conducted by "Fancy Bears" a group purportedly affiliated with the Russian Government. The information comes from "an email address of a USADA employee." Fancy Bears has published information, including my kid's, "around the world." Among the info disclosed: name, date of birth, doctors assigned, diagnosis, treatment, prescription and TUE application.

But not to worry, says the USADA, they are taking this "very seriously." And they are offering "twelve (12) months of free CSID Protector services ... including Identity Theft Insurance." Imagine that!

No mention of any heads rolling at USADA.

I am at this moment much calmed down from my immediate reaction. Why was this info kept on a server hooked to internet? Why was it not better protected." Why was it sent by (apparently) unencrypted email? Why are there no heads rolling.

Considering that this agency has unregulated power over AMATEUR sports, and given that they get to pry into doctor-patient privilege or the amateurs can't compete, I really don't believe they actually take the problem as "seriously" as it warrants. These are not people who make millions for participating in the sport. On the contrary, they pay 10s of thousands of dollars for coaching, travel, equipment, etc., plus make much sacrifice in time, effort, work-outs, etc., while also going to school. It is truly outrageous that this information cannot be better protected (or the amount more judiciously requested), especially considering a large portion of the applicants (like my kid) are minors.

I realize we no longer live in a world where kids just play Little League or YMCA swim meets. Everything has become professionalized and with that all the dishonesty and incentives to cheat that goes with it. And when agencies are created to prevent cheating, there is incentive to cheat by bringing down that agency. It is all very discouraging, especially when your kid is made to pay a price (how significant, who is to say right now?) for trying not to cheat.

The other thing is that it shows that Russian hacking is really a thing. Not political hype. And we ought to get to the bottom of it. This should not be a partisan thing. Whoever is involved should go down. And maybe people who were just negligent should go down too. We are not going back from an interconnected world. We have got to be smarter about living in this world where crime has become global. And if this is not checked, it could be very serious some day since everything we do now is online.

End of rant. (BTW, I guess this means my kid is now WITH HER-->.)

 Post subject: Re: Anti-Doping Agency and hacking
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 10:45 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:34 am
Posts: 5392
with who?


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