Sunday, 7 March 2010

And these are the people Rudd & Co intend to trust with access to a national database containing all your sensitive personal information?

It wasn't all that many years ago that a series of royal commissions and investigations revealed that Australian police officers were not above inappropriately accessing information about ordinary citizens and that in New South Wales a corrupt trade in personal information had occurred.

If you have ever lived in rural and regional Australia you will be aware that doctors gossip about their patients, and not just amongst themselves.

That even now public hospital computer access is not always secure.

Anyone who has read national newspapers over the last decade would be aware that at least 465 Centrelink employees were found to have accessed personal information about people on pensions and other welfare benefits, sometimes in exchange for money.

Now we are told that; More than 1,000 Medicare employees have been investigated for spying on customers' personal information over the past three years and at least 150 of those investigated were found to be plain spying on other people.

These health professionals and public servants are the very people Kevin Rudd and his Health Minister Nicola Roxon are going to entrust with our very personal health information (cross matched by name, address, date of birth, gender etc.) when they introduce the Medicare smart card/e-card and national health information database.

According to The Australian this week:

Last week, the Healthcare Identifiers Bill was referred to the Senate Community Affairs committee for an inquiry and report on "the significant changes" proposed by Ms Roxon by March 15.
Under the planned regime, Medicare will issue every Australian with a unique, 16-digit identity number, while more than 600,000 healthcare providers -- including pharmacists, psychologists and podiatrists -- will be given similarly unique identifiers to access patient numbers.
While the Medicare-operated service will not store clinical information along with the patient's number, name, address and date of birth, the HI number will be used to populate records held by a range of care providers, so that eventually all related files can be brought together at the point of care. But the unexpected news of snooping by Medicare staff has set off alarm bells.

That the Rudd Government's so-called reform of health information is suspect is nothing new, indeed public figures are to be given the opportunity to have their personal information hidden behind a false name because privacy risk is admitted.

In fact North Coast Voices has posted on problems with the Rudd-Roxon grand database plan before this.

It doesn't matter how many times the Prime Minister goes in front of the camera and tells the Australian electorate that he means well and can do better - this national health information database is one of his worst ideas after mandatory internet censorship and leaving those draconian sedition laws in place.

No comments: