Labor wrote worst part of the eHealth records act

Your eHealth record is basically public to anyone who works for the government or for the insurance industry, and Labor put that power there.

Now, I'm a huge proponent of eHealth records. I think they can save lives. Yet both sides of government think that every time we digitise some aspect of our life, that means they can spy on it. 

So who can get access?

Anyone in the public service can get your Electronic Health Record without a warrant. All they need to do is demonstrate in some way that your health record might contain information that demonstrates that you are costing their department money. Section 70(1)c of My Health Records Act 2012 allows disclosure for "the protection of the public revenue". So the ATO, Centrelink, and pretty much any department which gives you money in some way can access it. Work for the government? Now your health records are on display to your boss. The only thing they have to do is pass it through an arm of the government for revenue protection first, a routine operation for many of these departments (e.g. Centrelink).

Also, the cops can get full access without a warrant under section 70(1)a for "the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of criminal offences...". "Prevention" and "detection" means that no crime needs to have been committed for them to get access. In fact, you possibly don't even need to be under suspicion of a crime yourself.

Finally, if you are a doctor who also has a job at an insurer and access to the eHealth record system, you can legally access anyone health records, once again, without a warrant. Under section 68(1) "A participant in the My Health Record system is authorised to collect, use and disclose health information included in a healthcare recipient's My Health Record for purposes relating to the provision of indemnity cover for a healthcare provider." Note that this disclosure does not need your authorisation, and the person accessing it does not need to be your doctor.

Now what?

The failure of the My Health Records Act 2012 sets back potential health due to better records by years. When it comes to security and privacy, both the Labor Party and the Liberal National Coalition are failures.

The Science Party will remove the ability of government agencies to spy on your health records without a warrant. We also have policy being developed right now that will put additional funding behind securing the eHealth records system.

You can check out the different versions of the My Health Records Act 2012 here. Note the oldest was passed in Labor's time. 

James Jansson
Science Party Leader

 

Update (25/7): Corrected name of act. Added links. Some spelling and grammar.

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[Published: 24 Jul 2018]