Commonwealth Health Department going for data grab under cover of COVID

While Australia is focussed on COVID, the government acts to quietly collect our personal health data. The Department of Health funded project, Primary Health Insights, has been uploading detailed health records from GP databases. While almost 10% of Australians opted out of My Health Record, most may be unaware they are giving consent to their default data upload, when they sign the patient registration form to see their own doctor. Read More

MEDIA RELEASE: Every 3 minutes Australian health services collect 400 data points of up to 25m patients’ medical records

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) have been collecting 400 data points of up to 25 million Australian patient health records since August 2019. The records are apparently deidentified, but as science has long demonstrated, can be later identified so that criminal agents may collect 400 pieces of information about you from this information. Your General Practice asks for your consent to do this by bundling the authority into imprecise packages of tick-box styled general statements. By consenting to be treated by your usual doctor, patients also consent to link information from their confidential medical consult to information stored by health authorities. Read More

How [NOT] to earn public trust for the Contact Tracing App?

“This public health crisis is too important to risk a repeat of recent personal data disasters that undermined community trust in governments’ use of IT. The last Census, council exploitation of metadata retention, ‘Robodebt’, laws undermining encryption, and compulsory registration for an empty My Health Record loom large in public memory. The way this app… Read More

MEDIA RELEASE: How to earn public trust before the Contact Tracing App

The Australian public is attracted by the idea of using technology to assist tracing contacts of people diagnosed with COVID-19. A proximity logging app is proposed.The Australian public, along with scientists and researchers around the world, are also very concerned about gifting future governments the power to impose contact tracing on the populace through the… Read More

The opt-out period should be extended and My Health Record properly evaluated

The Australian Privacy Foundation fully supports recent calls by the Opposition Parties, Dr Kerryn Phelps, lawyers, clinicians, educators and others to extend the period when people can opt-out of being registered for a government owned and controlled My Health Record. There is obvious broad disquiet and substantive community concern: over a million people have opted… Read More

APF joins a coalition of human rights groups and experts in calling on the Australian government to protect encryption

Today, the Australian Privacy Foundation joins with Electronic Frontiers Australia, Digital Rights Watch, Future Wise, and other domestic and international human rights organisations in asking the Australian government to not pursue legislation undermining encryption, and other tools, policies and technologies critical to protecting individual rights. The 76 organisations, companies, and individuals signatory to this open letter call on government officials to become proponents of digital security and work collaboratively to help law enforcement adapt to the digital era.

This letter was been initiated by global digital rights organisation Access Now. “Australia is facing a choice on cybersecurity and encryption: real security or false,” said Nathan White, Senior Legislative Manager at Access Now. “The country can either be the testing ground for policies that undermine privacy and security in the digital era, or it can be a champion for human rights, leveraging its relationships to raise cybersecurity standards for the next generation. The world is watching.” Read More