Call it a win for the power of people, the government will rework My Health Record’s legislation to prevent unauthorised access to data.
It’s been a complicated few weeks for the government. That’s seems to be par for the course in general in government, but the past few have been particularly so, especially when it comes to understanding the digital needs of its citizens.
In the weeks following the news that Australians would need to opt-out of the Turnbull government’s My Health Record digital health file system — a move that directly goes against one asking you to opt-in rather than the opposite way around — people from all across the political divide have been studying the terms and conditions of the government’s centralised health system with more scrutiny.
While there are some positives to the system, the government had left in some pretty serious negatives, such as police and government agencies being able to access data from the system without a court order, a move which impacted a pretty severe concern based on data protection.
In fact, only mere days after Singapore’s government suffered a health data attack on its SingHealth system, the government’s My Health Record webpage was updated almost with a form of bait for hackers, stating that “There has never been a security breach of the My Health Record” on a system that has only been publicly accessible for weeks, and that “It is not susceptible to attacks like SingHealth”, a statement that makes you wonder how many will try, if only to prove the government wrong.
While we’d have to hope the government would wise up on its belief the system is hackproof (because that doesn’t exist, and is basically a shout out to criminals to try), at least it has bowed to pressure to change its legislation, something Fairfax confirmed in a story with a statement from Health Minister Greg Hunt.
According to the report, the minister said that “the amendment will ensure no record can be released to police or government agencies, for any purpose, without a court order.”
We very much doubt this will entirely put the matter to rest, and My Health Record’s flaws — particularly its forced opt-in approach belief that its data is unhackable — are likely going to be held to even more scrutiny, but this is a start.
Now we just wish the government had the foresight to investigate these issues as potential problems before they’d happen.