It seems oddly fitting that the day before Robert Bork died, so did a privacy law that he inspired. The controversial judge maintained that privacy rights only exist if they are expressly written into law. In a bit of two-can-play-at-that-game shenanigans, a reporter once accessed and published Bork’s video rental history. The incident became part of his failed supreme court confirmation hearings, and inspired the Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988. That act was quietly killed in December at the request of Netflix, which wants the ability to share its users’ viewing habits on Facebook. The next day, Bork passed away.

Wherever they come from, privacy rights ain’t what they used to be. Also in December, photo-sharing website Instagram shot itself in the foot by changing the wording of its terms of service to assert its right to use the site’s photos in conjunction with advertising, causing a hue and cry about the commercialization of our private lives. Even intellectual luminaries such as Kim Kardashian weighed in on that one. The irony is that Instagram’s original terms of service already gave it that right; the company was merely trying to be more forthright about its intentions. Tech analysts think the backlash will cause Internet privacy contracts to become more, not less, opaque.

Google has also caused ill will with its callous disregard for the privacy of personal data—in 2009 its CEO said, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”—and Facebook practically brags about the company’s life-in-a-fishbowl philosophy.

In this environment of ever-greater public access to our lives, it’s not surprising that health care providers, including optometrists, will now find their business dealings with industry exposed to scrutiny. As Contributing Editor Jane Cole details this month, a provision of the Affordable Care Act mandates public disclosure of any payment of $10 or more to any doctor from a medical drug or device company. The goal of the so-called Sunshine Act is to bring to light financial relationships between doctors and industry so that bias can be exposed.

Hold on a minute, detractors say. Since when does payment for services rendered constitute bias—especially among doctors who pledge to put the patient’s interest before their own? Other professions more prone to influence peddling have no such requirement, so why single out doctors? To many, the Sunshine Act looks like a solution in search of a problem, and just one more regulatory albatross around the necks of industry (think of the reporting requirements and the tedious paper trail it will require).

Regardless, start preparing for life on stage. If you have concerns about misinterpretation, disclose any financial relationships now and explain to patients or colleagues their origins and intent. As many doctors interviewed for our story mentioned, patients would likely see it as a good thing to be treated by a doctor who is courted by industry for product development and education. When your expertise is valued, don’t be modest. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!

Hey, it seems to work for Kim Kardashian. If she can withstand public scrutiny, surely you can too.

Review Welcomes Additions to its Clinical Editorial Staff
To keep Review of Optometry in tune with the procedures and protocols that define cutting-edge optometric care, we rely on the guidance of many thought leaders in the field. I’m pleased to announce the addition of three prominent ODs whose voices will help to shape the publication’s editorial content going forward.

Paul Karpecki, OD, an expert in anterior segment care and a fixture at live education events, will expand his role by becoming Co-Chief Clinical Editor. Paul brings a wealth of practical expertise gleaned from his work at an MD/OD office in Kentucky, home of some of the most forward-thinking scope of practice laws.

Alan Kabat, OD, comes on board as Associate Clinical Editor. Al’s 20 years of experience in optometric education at Nova Southeastern will add a vital perspective—the essential scientific underpinnings of real-world clinical techniques.

Andrew Gurwood, OD, of Salus University takes on the role of Case Reports Coordinator. Andy’s intellectual rigor ensures that these contributions meet the exacting standards of case-based education and augment our scientific literature.