Showing posts with label information technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label information technology. Show all posts

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Australian Digital Health Agency is considering adding DNA data to My Health Record


Crikey.com.au, 6 April 2018:

DNA DEBATE

The federal government’s controversial My Health Record program is capable of storing genomic data, such as cancer risks, using technology that both has huge research applications and highlights privacy and security concerns.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that genome-sequencing company Genome.One, which can track genetic variations and therefore disease risks, has built “necessary infrastructure” for uploading sensitive genomic data into the opt-out system.

University of Canberra privacy expert Bruce Arnold has criticised the inherent risks of DNA-tracking technology and, just a week after the government backdown on police access to My Health Records, today’s news as again demonstrating a lack public consultation.

The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) which is responsibe for My Health Record gave Genome.One, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Garvan Institute, $40,000 in September 2017 to support the development of this software.

Its GoExplore™ software provides sequencing and analyses of patients’ DNA samples to assesses their risk of developing 52 hereditary conditions, including 31 cancers, 13 heart conditions, as well several other conditions where monitoring or intervention can be of benefit. 

In a change of focus, Genome.One and The Garvan Institute are reportedly no longer offering clinical reporting for genetic disease diagnosis or personal health genomics in Australia. This service was priced at $6,400 plus GST, with no Medicare rebate.

Staffing numbers in Genome.One have been severely cut, new capital is being sought and, Gavan has stated that it intends to spin off Genome.One software into a new company in which it will be a minority shareholder.

However, Genome.One still intends to pilot its genomics technology integrated into GP practice software and on !8 April 2018 its CEO stated; “We're working with some electronic medical record providers and we're hoping that we can get a trial underway at some point this year”.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Tell me again why the Turnbull Government is insisting My Health Record will become mandatory by the end of October 2018?


It is not just ordinary health care consumers who have concerns about the My Health Record database, system design, privacy issues and ethical considerations.

It is not just the Turnbull Government which has not sufficiently prepared public and private health care organisations for the nationwide rollout of mass personal and health information collection - the organisations themselves are not ready.

Lewis Ryan (Academic GP Registrar)
* 91 % of GP Registrars have never used My Health Record in a clinical context

* 65% of GP Registrars have never discussed My Health Record with a patient

* 78%  of GP Registrars have never received training in how to use My Health Record

* 73% of GP Registrars say lack of training is a barrier to using My Health Record

* 71% of  GP Registrars who have used the My Health Record system say that the user interface is a barrier

* Only 21% of  GP Registrars believe privacy is well protected in the My Health Record system

In fact Australia-wide only 6,510 general practice organisations to date have registered to use My Health Record and these would only represent a fraction of the 35,982 GPs practicing across the country in 2016-17.


UPDATE

Healthcare IT News, 3 August 2018:
The Federal Government’s Health Care Homes is forcing patients to have a My Health Record to receive chronic care management through the program, raising ethical questions and concerns about discrimination.
The government’s Health Care Homes trial provides coordinated care for those with chronic and complex diseases through more than 200 GP practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services nationally, and enrolment in the program requires patients to have a My Health Record or be willing to get one.
But GP and former AMA president Dr Kerryn Phelps claimed the demand for patients to sign up to the national health database to access Health Care Homes support is unethical.
“I have massive ethical concerns about that, particularly given the concerns around privacy and security of My Health Record. It is discriminatory and it should be removed,” Phelps told Healthcare IT News Australia.
Under a two-year trial beginning in late 2017, up to 65,000 people are eligible to become Health Care Homes patients as part of a government-funded initiative to improve care for those with long-term conditions including diabetes, arthritis, and heart and lung diseases.
Patients in the program receive coordinated care from a team including their GP, specialists and allied health professionals and according to the Department of Health: “All Health Care Homes’ patients need to have a My Health Record. If you don’t have a My Health Record, your care team will sign you up.”
Phelps said as such patients who don’t want a My Health Record have been unable to access a health service they would otherwise be entitled to.
“When you speak to doctors who are in involved in the Heath Care Homes trial, their experience is that some patients are refusing to sign up because they don’t want a My Health Record. So it is a discriminatory requirement.”
It has also raised concerns about possible future government efforts to compel Australians to have My Health Records.
“The general feedback I’m getting is that the Health Care Homes trial is very disappointing to say the least but, nonetheless, what this shows is that signing up to My Health Record could just be made a prerequisite to sign up for other things like Centrelink payments or workers compensation.”
Human rights lawyer and Digital Rights Watch board member Lizzie O’Shea claims patients should have a right to choose whether they are signed up to the government’s online medical record without it affecting their healthcare.
“It is deeply concerning to see health services force their patients to use what has clearly been shown to be a flawed and invasive system. My Health Record has had sustained criticism from privacy advocates, academics and health professionals, and questions still remain to be answered on the privacy and security of how individual's data will be stored, accessed and protected,” O’Shea said. [my yellow highlighting]

Friday, 3 August 2018

NSW Roads & Maritime Services bungling and corrupt in 2018?


NSW Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight has a policy of sending IT jobs offshore?

With the national unemployment rate running at 5.4 per cent nationally in June 2018 and the New South Wales rate sitting at 4.8 per cent or 192,000 people, is the Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight & Nationals MP for Oxley Melinda Pavey secretly closing off employment opportunities for Australian information technology workers as a departmental cost-cutting measure?

These are not exactly the highest paying jobs in this country, averaging $46,000-$100,000 pa and, with the IT worker pool standing at est. 600,000+ nationally it is not as though there is an obvious scarcity of skilled workers available for hire.

So at first it was not easy to explain this...... 

The Daily Telegraph, 20 July 2018. P.2:

Leaked details of a meeting between Roads and Maritime­ Services and seven companies bidding for a $100 million IT contract contradict­ state government denials that it mandated a 30 per cent quota of cut-price overseas workers.

The February 13 meeting, convened by chief information officer Rob Putter, came six days after the RMS called for tenders to provide IT services, on the condition that a “minimum” of 20 per cent of jobs would be sent overseas in the first year and 30 per cent in the second year.

Three Indian firms, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro, and Tech Mahindra, attended the meeting along with Fujitsu, Datacom, Accenture and Wollongong company itree, with 25 people in the room and 18 dialling in.

A source who attended the meeting said Mr Putter showed a PowerPoint slide titled RMS Pricing Principles which stated the RMS was “seeking to achieve the lowest­ possible cost” to provide­ the IT service.

The slide stated RMS’s “target offshore resource utilisation­” required 20 per cent of jobs offshore in year one, 30 per cent in year two and a “measured ongoing ­app­roach to increase offshore efforts” over the rest of the seven-year contract.

Photocopies of the slide were provided to attendees, who “discussed at length ... the need to offshore resources (jobs)”, the source said.

“The RMS personnel stated that it was mandated by the (Roads) Minister that to achieve the lowest price they need to seek offshore resources,” the source said. 

“This clearly makes a joke of the Minister’s denial that this tender mandated offshoring.” As The Daily Telegraph revealed last week, the RMS had called for companies to provide “development, testing, maintenance and service management for transport-related software applications and in-the-field hardware”.…..

The RMS announced Mr Putter’s resignation last week.

Despite NSW Government denials, the fact remains that it is highly likely that jobs were to be sourced overseas as the RMS IT operational budget blowout had reached $80 million in the 12 months to June 2018, following a $40 million blowout in the operational budget in the previous financial year.

It appears that Roads and Maritime Services has bungled its $1 billion IT systems upgrade with more bad news expected.

Dollars for mates?

Crikey.com.au, 2 August 2018:

New South Wales transport consultancy firm MU Group [MURPHY UDAYAN GROUP*] 
is under fire after six government contracts, none of which went to public tender, were awarded to the company after it hired former state roads minister 
Duncan Gay.

The Daily Telegraph ($) reports that the firm has been awarded contracts from the Roads and Maritime Services agency worth over $4.46 million after hiring the former department head as an “executive adviser” just weeks after Gay left parliament in late 2017. The firm has reportedly hired at least 11 former Roads and Maritime Services staff members, including two as directors, however Gay says he has “not been involved in any RMS contracts that MU have won”.

* Director and Founder of the MU Group Matthew Murphy is a former Roads and Maritime Service civil engineer in Project/Contract Management with extensive experience on infrastructure projects for urban roads, highways including Pacific Highway Upgrades.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Turnbull Government prepares an end run around the Australian electorate?


In 1986 the Federal Government couldn’t get the national electorate to accept the Australia Card, a national identity card to be carried by all citizens.

Likewise in 2007 the wider electorate rejected the proposed Access Card, a national identity card with a unique personal identification number, which was to be linked to a centralised database expected to contain an unprecedented amount of personal and other information.

Federal Government also failed to have everyone embrace the idea of MyGov, a data sharing, one-stop digital portal for access to government services created in 2013. To date only 11.5 million people out of a population of over 24.9 million hold an account with MyGov.

When after three and a half years the populace did not register in sufficient numbers for the so-called Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR), an intrusive opt-in data retention system, government changed tack.

It relabelled PCEHR as My Health Record (MHR) in 2016 and broadened the number of agencies which could access an individual’s personal/health information. Decreeing it would become a mandatory data collection system applied to the entire Australian population, with only a short an opt-out period prior to full program implementation1.

However, it seems that the Turnbull Federal Government expects around 1.9 million people to opt-out of or cancel their My Heath Record in the next two months. Possibly with more cancellations to occur in the future, as privacy and personal safety become issues due to the inevitable continuation of MHR data breaches and the occurrence of unanticipated software vulnerabilities/failures.

So Turnbull and his Liberal and Nationals cronies have a backup in place in 2018 called the Data Sharing and Release Bill, which Introduces legislation to improve the use and reuse of public sector data within government and with private corporations outside of government, as well as granting access to and the sharing of data on individuals and businesses that is currently otherwise prohibited.

The bill also allows for the sharing of transaction, usage and product data with service competitors and comparison services. An as yet unrealised  provision which is currently being wrapped up in a pretty bow and called a consumer right - but one that is likely to be abused by the banking, finance, insurance, electricity/gas industry sectors.

The bill appears to override the federal privacy act where provisions are incompatible.

This is a bill voters have yet to see, because the Turnbull Government has not seen fit to publish the bill’s full text. Only an issues paper is available at present.

Notes:

1. Federal Government may have succeeded in retaining the personal details of every person who filled in the 2016 Census by permanently retaining these details and linking this information to their future Census information in order to track people overtime for the rest of their lives, but this win for government as Big Brother was reliant on stealth in implementation and was limited in what it could achieve at the time. 

Because not everyone ended up with a genuine unique identification key as an unknown number of individual citizens and permanent residents (possibly well in excess of half a million souls) as acts of civil disobedience deliberately filled in the national survey forms with falsified information or managed to evade filling in a form altogether. 

Sunday, 29 July 2018

When it comes to My Heath Record the words horse, stable, door, spring to mind


In January 2016 the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) became a corporate Commonwealth established under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (Establishing the Australian Digital Health Agency) Rule.

It has a board appointed by the Minister for Health in whose portfolio it is situated and the board is the accountable body of the ADHA.

Currently Mr Jim Birch AM, Chair. Mr Rob Bransby, Dr Eleanor Chew, Dr Elizabeth Deven, Ms Lyn McGrath, Ms Stephanie Newell, Dr Bennie Ng,  Professor Johanna Westbrook and Michael Walsh sit on this board.

The executive team is headed by Tim Kelsey as CEO, with Professor Meredith Makeham as Chief Medical Adviser and Bettina McMahon, Ronan O’Connor, Terrance Seymour & Dr. Monica Trujillo as the four executive managers.

ADHA is also the designated Systems Operator for My Health Record which currently holds the personal health information of 5.98 million people across the country and will add the remaining 19 million after 15 October 2018 unless they opt out of being included in this national database.

Given the potential size of this database the question of cyber security springs to mind.

It seems that the Australian Digital Health Agency has not been independently audited for cyber resilience by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) ahead of beginning the mammoth task of collecting and collating the personal heath information of those19 million people.

Australian National Audit OfficePotential audit: 2018-19:

Management of cyber security risks in My Health Record

The audit would examine the effectiveness of the Australian Digital Health Agency’s management of cyber security risks associated with the implementation and ongoing maintenance of the My Health Record system.
My Health Record creates a record of Australians’ interactions with healthcare providers, and more than 5.5 million Australians have a My Health Record. The audit would focus on whether adequate controls are in place to protect the privacy and integrity of individual records.

It seems that the Australian general public still only has the honeypot's dubious word that it cannot be raided by unauthorised third parties.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has reacted to growing community concern about the number of agencies which can access My Health Records with a vague promise of "refinements" and with this outright lie; "The fact is that there have been no privacy complaints or breaches with My Health Record in six years and there are over 6 million people with My Health Records".

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has recorded complaints and at least 242 individual My Health Records have been part of mandatory data breach reports in 2015-16 to 2016-17, with nine of the 51 reported breach events involving "the unauthorised access of a healthcare recipient’s My Health Record by a third party".

BACKGROUND

Intermedium, 8 May 2018:

Re-platforming options for the My Health Record (MHR) system will soon be up for consideration, with an Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) spokesperson confirming that a request for information will be released in the next few months to inform plans to modernise the infrastructure underpinning Australia’s mammoth patient health database.

An open-source, cloud-based environment has already been flagged as a possibility for the MHR by Department of Health (DoH) Special Adviser for Strategic trategic Health Systems and Information Management Paul Madden at Senate Estimates in May last year. He also said that the re-platforming decision was one of many “variables” that needed to be squared away to accurately gauge how much the MHR system will cost beyond 2019-20.
“The variables in there include the re-platforming of the system to an open source environment, using cloud technology… which will be something we will not know the cost of until we hit the market to get a view on that”, Madden said last year. “Our commitment is to come back to the budget in 2019 to paint out those costs for the four years beyond.”
ADHA is scoping out MHR re-platforming options early, with the existing contract with the Accenture-led consortium not set to expire until 2020. As the “National Infrastructure Operator”, Accenture is tasked with running and maintaining MHR’s infrastructure. The prime contractor works with Oracle and Orion Health to provide the core systems and portals behind MHR.
Accenture was awarded the contract to design, build, integrate and test the then-personally controlled electronic health record system (PCEHR) back in 2011, and has signed 13 contracts worth a total of $709.53 million with DoH in relation to the MHR in that time. With the original infrastructure now over seven years old, ADHA recognise the importance of modernising the environment supporting the MHR....

The Sydney Morning Herald, Letter to the Editor, 26 July 2018. p20:

What happens to medical records when opting out?

Dr Kerryn Phelps reminds us that, if people don't opt out, the My Health Records Act allows disclosure of patients' health information to police, courts and the ATO without a warrant ("My Health Record backlash builds", July 25). This would be in addition to "health information such as allergies, medicines and immunisations" available for emergency staff.

How can the access be restricted to emergency staff? How can only certain categories of information be released when allergies and medication are part of general medical notes? I was not reassured by "serious penalties relating to the misuse of information do not apply to accidental misuse" on the website. I opted out.

My GP has told me that, nonetheless, she will be obliged to upload my records - which sounds credible since I have formally opted out with the government, not with my doctor's practice. So what happens - does my health record get kicked off "the cloud"? What exactly did I opt out of?

Denise De Vreeze [my yellow highlighting]

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

The two very different faces Facebook Inc presents to potential advertisers and lawmakers



Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter, No 98, July 2018, pp8-9:

98.2.3 Facebook described itself as a ‘publisher’ in 2013

Facebook described itself as a “publisher” as far back as 2013, leaked documents obtained by the Australian reveal. This contradicts the message that chief executive Mark Zuckerberg gave to US Congress, in interviews and in speeches (Australian, 9 July 2018). A 71-page PowerPoint presentation prepared by the then managing director of Facebook, Stephen Scheeler, outlines how the tech giant was the “second-highest reaching publisher in Australia” when compared with traditional media companies such as Nine and Seven. The internal sales document is partly based on data gathered by measurement firm Nielsen as well as confidential internal figures including quarterly revenue targets. There is no mention of Facebook being a publisher in Nielsen’s original report; it categorises Facebook as a “brand” in its Online Landscape Review published in May 2013. A slide in the presentation produced by Scheeler, the most senior executive at Facebook’s Australia and New Zealand business at the time, changed Nielsen’s description of Facebook from a brand to a “publisher”, showing that the social media giant views itself as such.

This is significant because Facebook has long argued it is a tech platform, not a publisher or a media company, when questioned about how it has generated vast profits by siphoning off billions of dollars from the news industry. The admission in the document contrasts with Facebook’s recent public contribution to a high-powered Australian inquiry into the local digital media market. The company repeatedly calls itself a “platform” in a 56-page written submission to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

Zuckerberg has persistently rejected the suggestion that Facebook is a publisher, presenting the company as a neutral platform that does not have traditional journalistic responsibilities. In April, Zuckerberg was asked by US senators investigating the Cambridge Analytica data scandal to explain whether his company was a tech company or publisher. Dan Sullivan, a Republican Senator for Alaska, said: “That goes to an important question about what regulation or action, if any, we would take.” Asked by Senator Sullivan if Facebook was a “tech company or the world’s largest publisher” during his second day of testimony on Capitol Hill, the Facebook co-founder responded: “I view us as a tech company because the primary thing that we do is build technology and products.” Senator Sullivan pressed further: “You said you’re responsible for your content, which makes you kind of a publisher, right?” Zuckerberg did not admit Facebook was a media company or publisher, but did say it was responsible for what is posted on its platforms after it emerged that the company allowed Russia to spread disinformation in the US presidential election.

“I agree that we’re responsible for the content. But we don’t produce the content. I think that when people ask us if we’re a media company or a publisher, my understanding of what the heart of what they’re really getting at is: do we feel responsible for the content on our platform? The answer to that I think is clearly yes. But I don’t think that that’s incompatible with fundamentally at our core being a technology company where the main thing that we do is have engineers and build products.”

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt is not being truthful about My Health Record and he knows it


On 16 July 2018 the Australian Minister for Health and Liberal MP for Flinders, Gregory Andrew 'Greg' Hunt, characterised My Health Record as a "secure summary" of an individual's key health information.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) tells a rather different story.

One where at least 242 individual My Health Records have been part of mandatory data breach reports in 2015-16 to 2016-17, with nine of the 51 reported breach events involving "the unauthorised access of a healthcare recipient’s My Health Record by a third party".

A story which also involves at least 96 instances of Medicare uploading data to the wrong digital health records and also uploading claim information to another 123 My Health Records apparently without the knowledge or consent of the persons in whose names these My Health Records had been created.

There were other instances where MyGov accounts held by healthcare recipients were incorrectly linked to the My Health Records of other healthcare recipients.

Prior to the database name change and system change from opt-in to opt-out there had been another 9 data breaches of an unspecified nature reported, involving an unknown number of what are now called My Health Records.

More instances are now being aired in mainstream and social media where My Health Records were created by DHS Medicare Repository Services or other agents/agencies without the knowledge or consent of the individual in whose name the record had been created.
Healthcare IT News 16 July 2018


If this is how the national e-health database was officially functioning malfunctioning by 30 June 2017, how on earth is the system going to cope when it attempts to create millions of new My Health Records after 15 October 2018?

On the first day of the 60 day opt-out period about 20,000 people refused to have a My Health Record automatically created for them and at least one Liberal MP has also opted out, the Member for Goldstein and member of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport Tim Wilson. 

Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull has stated his view that mass withdrawals will not kill the national digital health records system - perhaps because he and his government are possibly contemplating adopting the following three coercive recommendations found amongst the thirty-one recommendations included in the Siggins Miller November 2016 Evaluation of the Participation Trials for the My Health Record: Final Report:

20. Use all mechanisms available in commissioning and funding health services as vehicles to require the use of the My Health Record to obtain funds where practical.

21. Consider ways to require the use of the My Health Record system by all healthcare providers and how to best use the Government’s purchasing power directly (e.g. in the aged care sector), via new initiatives as they arise (such the Health Care Home initiative) or via PHNs commissioning clinical services (e.g. require use of the My Health Record system in all clinical and aged care services that receive Commonwealth funds). Such requirements should have a timeframe within which healthcare providers need to become compliant.

22. Explore with health insurers how they could encourage preferred suppliers and clients to use the My Health Record system as part of their push for preventive care and cost containment.

That the My Health Record is not about improving health service delivery for individual patients is indicated by the fact that a My Health Record is retained by the National Repositories Service for between 30 and up to 130 years after death and, even during an individual's lifetime can be accessed by the courts, police, other government agencies and private corporations listed as research organisations requiring medical/lifestyle information for what is essentially commercial gain, at the discretion of the Secretary of the Department of Health or the Digital Health Agency Systems Operator. See: My Health Records Act 2012 (20 September 2017), Subdivision B - s63 to s70

To put it bluntly, this national database will allow federal government to monitor the personal lives of Australian citizens more closely, enforce civil & criminal law, monetise collated data for its own benefit  and, weaponize the personal information collected anytime it feels threatened by dissenting opinion.

NOTES

OAIC annual reports:


The Guardian, 22 July 2018:

Australia’s impending My Health Record system is “identical” to a failed system in England that was cancelled after it was found to be selling patient data to drug and insurance companies, a British privacy expert has said.

My Health Record is a digital medical record that stores medical data and shares it between medical providers. In the UK, a similar system called care.data was announced in 2014, but cancelled in 2016 after an investigation found that drug and insurance companies were able to buy information on patients’ mental health conditions, diseases and smoking habits.

The man in charge of implementing My Health Record in Australia, Tim Kelsey, was also in charge of setting up care.data. 

Phil Booth, the coordinator of British privacy group Medconfidential, said the similarities were “extraordinary” and he expected the same privacy breaches to occur.

“The parallels are incredible,” he said. “It looks like it is repeating itself, almost like a rewind or a replay. The context has changed but what is plainly obvious to us from the other side of the planet, is that this system seems to be the 2018 replica of the 2014 care.data.” [my yellow highlighting]

North Coast Voices , 22 July 2018, Former Murdoch journalist in charge of MyHealth records –what could possibly go wrong?

UPDATE

Australian Parliamentary Library, Flagpost, 23 July 2018:

Section 70 of the My Health Records Act 2012 enables the System Operator (ADHA) to ‘use or disclose health information’ contained in an individual’s My Health Record if the ADHA ‘reasonably believes that the use or disclosure is reasonably necessary’ to, among other things, prevent, detect, investigate or prosecute any criminal offence, breaches of a law imposing a penalty or sanction or breaches of a prescribed law; protect the public revenue; or prevent, detect, investigate or remedy ‘seriously improper conduct’. Although ‘protection of the public revenue’ is not explained, it is reasonable to assume that this might include investigations into potential fraud and other financial offences involving agencies such as Centrelink, Medicare, or the Australian Tax Office. The general wording of section 70 is a fairly standard formulation common to various legislation—such as the Telecommunications Act 1997—which appears to provide broad access to a wide range of agencies for a wide range of purposes. 

While this should mean that requests for data by police, Home Affairs and other authorities will be individually assessed, and that any disclosure will be limited to the minimum necessary to satisfy the request, it represents a significant reduction in the legal threshold for the release of private medical information to law enforcement. Currently, unless a patient consents to the release of their medical records, or disclosure is required to meet a doctor’s mandatory reporting obligations (e.g. in cases of suspected child sexual abuse), law enforcement agencies can only access a person’s records (via their doctor) with a warrant, subpoena or court order....

It seems unlikely that this level of protection and obligation afforded to medical records by the doctor-patient relationship will be maintained, or that a doctor’s judgement will be accommodated, once a patient’s medical record is uploaded to My Health Record and subject to section 70 of the My Health Records Act 2012. The AMA’s Guide to Medical Practitioners on the use of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record System (from 2012) does not clarify the situation.

Although it has been reported that the ADHA’s ‘operating policy is to release information only where the request is subject to judicial oversight’, the My Health Records Act 2012 does not mandate this and it does not appear that the ADHA’s operating policy is supported by any rule or regulation. As legislation would normally take precedence over an agency’s ‘operating policy’, this means that unless the ADHA has deemed a request unreasonable, it cannot routinely require a law enforcement body to get a warrant, and its operating policy can be ignored or changed at any time.

The Health Minister’s assertions that no one’s data can be used to ‘criminalise’ them and that ‘the Digital Health Agency has again reaffirmed today that material … can only be accessed with a court order’ seem at odds with the legislation which only requires a reasonable belief that disclosure of a person’s data is reasonably necessary to prevent, detect, investigate or prosecute a criminal offence…..

Although the disclosure provisions of different agencies may be more or less strict than those of the ADHA and the My Health Records Act 2012, the problem with the MHR system is the nature of the data itself. As the Law Council of Australia notes, ‘the information held on a healthcare recipient’s My Health Record is regarded by many individuals as highly sensitive and intimate’. The National Association of People with HIV Australia has suggested that ‘the department needs to ensure that an individual’s My Health Record is bound to similar privacy protections as existing laws relating to the privacy of health records’. Arguably, therefore, an alternative to the approach of the current scheme would be for medical records registered in the MHR system to be legally protected from access by law enforcement agencies to at least the same degree as records held by a doctor.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Clifton Gardens-Mosman residents, you have a data breach......


I spy with my little eye a former "young broker of the year", a number of Self-Managed Superannuation Funds and a slew of private corporations whose registered addresses are not so private anymore.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Former Murdoch journalist in charge of MyHealth records –what could possibly go wrong?



Former news editor of the notorious Newscorp publication The Sunday Times which was involved in the UK hacking scandal, former  Executive Director of Transparency and Open Data in the UK Cabinet Office and then National Director for Patients and Information and head of the toxic government Care.data project which stored patient medical information in a single database. before ending up as the commercial director of Telstra Health in Australia, Tim Kelsey, was appointed as CEO of the Australian Digital Health Agency by the Turnbull Coalition Government to progress the stalled My Health Record national database in 2016 with a salary worth $522,240 a year.

 A curriculum vitae which may go some way to explaining why reports are beginning to emerge of individuals seeking to opt-out of My Health Record finding out they have been registered by stealth in the Australian national database some years ago.

Crikey.com.au, 18 July 2018:

The bureaucrat overseeing My Health Record presided over a disaster-plagued national health record system in the UK, and has written passionately about the belief people have no right to opt out of health records or anonymity.

Tim Kelsey is a former British journalist who moved into the electronic health record business in the 2000s. In 2012, he was appointed to run the UK government’s national health record system, Care.data, which was brought to a shuddering halt in 2014 after widespread criticism over the sale of patients’ private data to drug and insurance companies, then scrapped altogether in 2016. By that stage, Kelsey had moved to Telstra in Australia, before later taking a government role. There was considerable criticism about the lack of information around Care.data, and over 700,000 UK people opted out of the system.

Kelsey vehemently opposed allowing people to opt out — the exact model he is presiding over in Australia. In a 2009 article, “Long Live The Database State”, for Prospect…..

For Kelsey, this was necessary for effective health services…….

Kelsey also expressed his opposition to the anonymisation of data, even of the most personal kind…... 

Kelsey’s vision was of a vast state apparatus collecting, consolidating and distributing private information to enable an interventionist state.

Moreover, he stated others should have access to data…..

ADHA, Kelsey is doing little to fix his reputation for controversy. On Saturday, ADHA released an extraordinary 1000-word attack on News Corp health journalist Sue Dunlevy who correctly pointed out the strong risk to privacy in the My Health Record system. The statement repeatedly criticised Dunlevy, accusing her of “dangerous fearmongering” and being “misleading and ignorant”.

Dunlevy had rightly noted the lack of any effective information campaign about My Health record (exactly the criticism made of Care.data), prompting ADHA to boast of its $114 million campaign at Australia Post shops, Department of Human Services “access points” and letters to health practitioners. It makes you wonder why even News Corp’s Janet Albrechtsen said she’d never heard of My Health Record until last week…. 

Friday, 20 July 2018

Slowly but surely Russian connections between the UK Brexit referendum campaign and the US presidential campaign are beginning to emerge


“We have concluded that there are risks in relation to the processing of personal data by many political parties. Particular concerns include: the purchasing of marketing lists and lifestyle information from data brokers without sufficient due diligence, a lack of fair processing, and use of third party data analytics companies with insufficient checks around consent….We have looked closely at the role of those who buy and sell personal data-sets in the UK. Our existing investigation of the privacy issues raised by their work has been expanded to include their activities in political processes….The investigation has identified a total of 172 organisations of interest that required engagement, of which around 30 organisations have formed the main focus of our enquiries, including political parties, data analytics companies and major social media platforms…..Similarly, we have identified a total of 285 individuals relating to our investigation.” [UK Information Commissioner’s Office, Investigation into the use of data analytics in political campaigns: Investigation update, July 2018]

Slowly but surely the Russian connections between the UK Brexit referendum campaign and the US presidential campaign are beginning to emerge.

The Guardian, 15 July 2018:

A source familiar with the FBI investigation revealed that the commissioner and her deputy spent last week with law enforcement agencies in the US including the FBI. And Denham’s deputy, James Dipple-Johnstone, confirmed to the Observer that “some of the systems linked to the investigation were accessed from IP addresses that resolve to Russia and other areas of the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States]”.

It was also reported that Senator Mark Warner, vice chair of US Senate Intel Committee and Damian Collins MP, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee inquiry into “fake news”, met in Washington on or about 16 July 2018 to discuss Russian interference in both British and American democratic processes during an Atlantic Council meeting.

UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), media release, 10 July 2018:

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has today published a detailed update of her office’s investigation into the use of data analytics in political campaigns.
In March 2017, the ICO began looking into whether personal data had been misused by campaigns on both sides of the referendum on membership of the EU.

In May it launched an investigation that included political parties, data analytics companies and major social media platforms.

Today’s progress report gives details of some of the organisations and individuals under investigation, as well as enforcement actions so far.

This includes the ICO’s intention to fine Facebook a maximum £500,000 for two breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Facebook, with Cambridge Analytica, has been the focus of the investigation since February when evidence emerged that an app had been used to harvest the data of 50 million Facebook users across the world. This is now estimated at 87 million.
The ICO’s investigation concluded that Facebook contravened the law by failing to safeguard people’s information. It also found that the company failed to be transparent about how people’s data was harvested by others.
Facebook has a chance to respond to the Commissioner’s Notice of Intent, after which a final decision will be made.

Other regulatory action set out in the report comprises:

warning letters to 11 political parties and notices compelling them to agree to audits of their data protection practices;

an Enforcement Notice for SCL Elections Ltd to compel it to deal properly with a subject access request from Professor David Carroll;

a criminal prosecution for SCL Elections Ltd for failing to properly deal with the ICO’s Enforcement Notice;

an Enforcement Notice for Aggregate IQ to stop processing retained data belonging to UK citizens;

a Notice of Intent to take regulatory action against data broker Emma’s Diary (Lifecycle Marketing (Mother and Baby) Ltd); and
audits of the main credit reference companies and Cambridge University Psychometric Centre.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said:
“We are at a crossroads. Trust and confidence in the integrity of our democratic processes risk being disrupted because the average voter has little idea of what is going on behind the scenes.

“New technologies that use data analytics to micro-target people give campaign groups the ability to connect with individual voters. But this cannot be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law.

She added:
“Fines and prosecutions punish the bad actors, but my real goal is to effect change and restore trust and confidence in our democratic system.”

A second, partner report, titled Democracy Disrupted? Personal information and political influence, sets out findings and recommendations arising out of the 14-month investigation.

Among the ten recommendations is a call for the Government to introduce a statutory Code of Practice for the use of personal data in political campaigns.

Ms Denham has also called for an ethical pause to allow Government, Parliament, regulators, political parties, online platforms and the public to reflect on their responsibilities in the era of big data before there is a greater expansion in the use of new technologies.

She said:
“People cannot have control over their own data if they don’t know or understand how it is being used. That’s why greater and genuine transparency about the use of data analytics is vital.”

In addition, the ICO commissioned research from the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the independent thinktank DEMOS. Its report, also published today, examines current and emerging trends in how data is used in political campaigns, how use of technology is changing and how it may evolve in the next two to five years. 

The investigation, one of the largest of its kind by a Data Protection Authority, remains ongoing. The 40-strong investigation team is pursuing active lines of enquiry and reviewing a considerable amount of material retrieved from servers and equipment.

The interim progress report has been produced to inform the work of the DCMS’s Select Committee into Fake News.

The next phase of the ICO’s work is expected to be concluded by the end of October 2018.

The Washington Post, 28 June 2018:

BRISTOL, England — On Aug. 19, 2016, Arron Banks, a wealthy British businessman, sat down at the palatial residence of the Russian ambassador to London for a lunch of wild halibut and Belevskaya pastila apple sweets accompanied by Russian white wine.

Banks had just scored a huge win. From relative obscurity, he had become the largest political donor in British history by pouring millions into Brexit, the campaign to disentangle the United Kingdom from the European Union that had earned a jaw-dropping victory at the polls two months earlier.

Now he had something else that bolstered his standing as he sat down with his new Russian friend, Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko: his team’s deepening ties to Donald Trump’s insurgent presidential bid in the United States. A major Brexit supporter, Stephen K. Bannon, had just been installed as chief executive of Trump’s campaign. And Banks and his fellow Brexiteers had been invited to attend a fundraiser with Trump in Mississippi.

Less than a week after the meeting with the Russian envoy, Banks and firebrand Brexit politician Nigel Farage — by then a cult hero among some anti-establishment Trump supporters — were huddling privately with the Republican nominee in Jackson, Miss., where Farage wowed a foot-stomping crowd at a Trump rally.
Banks’s journey from a lavish meal with a Russian diplomat in London to the raucous heart of Trump country was part of an unusual intercontinental charm offensive by the wealthy British donor and his associates, a hard-partying lot who dubbed themselves the “Bad Boys of Brexit.” Their efforts to simultaneously cultivate ties to Russian officials and Trump’s campaign have captured the interest of investigators in the United Kingdom and the United States, including special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Vice News, 11 June 2018:

Yakovenko is already on the radar of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, after he was named in the indictment of ex-Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos….

Banks, along with close friend and former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, was among the very first overseas political figures to meet Trump after his surprise victory in November 2016.

It also emerged over the weekend that Banks passed contact information for Trump’s transition team to the Russians.