Make 'My Health Record' OPT-IN

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The new 'My Health Record' is an online database of all your health data, owned by the Australian Government, and created without your express consent. Instead, if you do not take the necessary steps before 15 October, after an opt out period of only 3 months, your health records will automatically be copied, stored and shared.

The My Health Record program must be made OPT-IN before the 15th of October, and its many flaws fully and satisfactorily addressed in legislation.

We deserve to make an informed choice about whether the limited benefits justify the substantial risks to our sensitive information.

The opt-out consent mechanism goes against global best practice - and our own federal privacy regulator’s guidelines. For the use of our personal health information, every participating individual should have been asked for express, fully informed consent.

With My Health Record, the government disregards those principles.

We are not be fully informed. There is no national television, radio or print media campaign to advertise the MHR scheme, which many Australians have misunderstood in the past. The government has not and will not even send you a letter to tell you about this scheme, let alone its very serious risks.

What risks?

Let's start with the fact that it can’t be relied upon as a clinical record. As the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) points out: "The My Health Record system contains an online summary of a patient’s key health information; not a complete record of their clinical history." In an emergency, an unreliable record is a distraction, not a help.

It also creates a security risk. The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) itself states that this system has risks associated with its use. Health records are valuable as a means of identity theft due to the wealth of personal information they contain, and storing them digitally with online access greatly increases their accessibility for criminals, hackers and snoopers.

And it won’t just be your doctor who has access to your private information. Under the current legislation, law enforcement agencies and government departments can access your medical information without a warrant or subpoena. Rather than getting the help they need, drug users, people with stigmatised illnesses and other vulnerable members of our community may avoid doctors for fear of being targeted and persecuted, because of My Health Record.

Furthermore, anyone in a government overseen field would have access to their full medical records (including their sexual, reproductive and mental health) given to their bosses, potentially as basis for a 'pre employment screening'. Employers in health, government departments and law enforcement may breach equal opportunity law and deny employment, for example, to a woman undergoing IVF, or someone with a past history of depression who is now stable, with no consequences.

The My Health Record program must be made OPT-IN before the 15th of October, and its many flaws fully and satisfactorily addressed in legislation.

We deserve to make an informed choice about whether the limited benefits justify the substantial risks to our sensitive information.

If you wish to join those boycotting My Health Record, opt out here.

 



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