Kiss your privacy goodbye when you use an ambulance? The Australian Privacy Foundation says No.

People in South Australia need real answers and real responses to yet another data breach. The SA Ambulance Service has disclosed that the personal details of 28,000 patients have been stolen. Those details include people’s name, date of birth, age, address, and in some cases, their pension number and health notes. Juanita Fernando, chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation’s (APF’s) Health Committee said, “That’s prime fodder for identity theft and something we all need to take seriously.” The Ambulance Service says the data was on a storage device that was stolen from a consultancy firm in July. The consultants had apparently held the data since the early 2000s. Read More

Too late? The new normal, State government slurps up all patient information.

The Victorian government’s “Health Legislation Amendment (Information Sharing) Bill 2021” was hurried through its first Parliamentary vote last week. The Bill links all patient medical and health information through a single portal, to be shared between authorised end-users, decided and controlled by the Secretary of the Department of Health. The powers embodied in the Bill are unprecedented, threatening patient-doctor confidentiality, risking health and wellness should some individuals decide not to seek clinical attention for potentially life threatening or serious illnesses and conditions. Read More

MEDIA RELEASE: Banks can do better – Consumer groups make more than 100 recommendations to improve bank behaviour

A coalition of the country’s leading consumer organisations is calling on Australia’s major banks to make significant updates to their industry code to improve outcomes for customers. The Consumers’ Federation of Australia’s (CFA) submission of behalf of the coalition to the 2021 review of the Australian Banking Association (ABA) Banking Code of Practice (the Code) sets out over 100 recommendations. Read More

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