Minister wrong on privacy, says News Corp


There have been nine data breaches involving My Health Record to date, claims an article in News media

Health Minister Greg Hunt has on a number of occasions asserted that there have been no breaches of the system as yet.

But according to News Corp’s national health reporter Sue Dunlevy, it’s happened nine times.

“Almost a quarter of Australians have a My Health Record and that’s roughly six million Australians, so there have been no releases,” the Minister told ABC News Breakfast’s Michael Rowland on 1 August.

“There have been no privacy breaches, as the agency has confirmed.”

He also told 5AA Mornings’ Leon Byner the same thing: “Over the last six years where we’ve had six million Australians, nearly a quarter of Australians on the My Health Record, no breaches in terms of privacy, not one issue of a record to a legal authority”.

However News Corp media says otherwise.

“A News Corp investigation can reveal there has already been nine data breaches involving the Federal Government’s My Health Record system,” Ms Dunlevy writes this week.

“In its own question and answer publication sent to doctors, the Australian Digital Health Agency, which runs the record, admits there have been nine data breaches associated with the record,” she writes.

She says that the agency has admitted that “in the 2016-17 financial year, there were six data breach notifications within My Health Record, and three notifications in the previous financial year”.

“Of the six data breaches reported by the Agency, four were the result of alleged fraudulent Medicare claims,” the agency reportedly said.

“The remaining two breaches were the result of a consumer accessing a My Health Record that was not their own due to a processing error by the Department of Human Services.”

Ms Dunlevy writes that no financial or custodial penalties had applied following these breaches.

This week the Minister announced that more robust privacy provisions would be put in place, meaning that a court order would be required to release any My Health Record information without consent.

The Pharmacy Guild welcomed the move.

“Privacy of health records is vital, and it is good that the Minister has responded to these concerns and provided the necessary assurances,” said national president George Tambassis.

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