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article imageExperts blast My Health Record as Australians rush to opt out

By Lisa Cumming     Jul 20, 2018 in Health
The Australian government’s new health record system has come under fire after Australians were invited to either opt in or out of the system on Monday, many chose to opt out.
My Health Record is a national digital database of health records, supposedly a "one stop shop for healthcare practitioners," according to News.com.au. Australians have three months to opt out before they are automatically enrolled, with the deadline being October 15, 2018.
Recent reports have surfaced that Australians are experiencing difficulties with the website, such as crashes and long wait times, as many are rushing to opt out of a site that critics say the public was not prepared for or informed about.
Paul Shetler, the former head of Australia's Digital Transformation Agency, went on RNBreakfast and shared his concerns about user privacy.
Shetler is not an Australian citizen, but he reportedly told the ABC if he was he would he would "probably" withdraw from My Health Record.
My Health Record stores information "for 30 years after your death or, if the date of death is unknown, for 130 years after the date of your birth," according to the government website.
To The Guardian, Bernard Robertson-Dunn from the Australian Privacy Foundation called the system an “uncontrolled, uncurated, data dump" and criticized it for the potential of sensitive information being shared with "irrelevant people."
“Better sharing of health data among health professional is a good thing – as long as it is done in a controlled manner,” Robertson-Dunn said to The Guardian. “But if somebody has mental health issues, you don’t want that shared with a dentist or someone who looks at your feet."
Other critics of the system have echoed these privacy concerns, saying that the risk of private medical information being shared publicly is very high.
"The ADHA’s bullish approach jeopardises the legitimacy of the entire scheme, and it also accentuates the staggering disconnect between the move to commit all Australians to a system that will hold their data for their lives plus 30 years," wrote Julia Powles in The Guardian. "And the degree of uncertainty about how that data will be used, by whom, and for what."
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