Law enforcement should not have access to My Health Record system - even under warrant

9 November 2018

Centre Alliance will move an amendment to the My Health Record (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018 to prevent law enforcement agencies and government departments from accessing people’s private medical records, even under warrant.

At the moment, Section 70 of the My Health Record Act 2012 authorises the Australian Digital Health Agency to disclose a person’s private My Health Record to a law enforcement body or the Immigration department if it “reasonably believes” it is necessary. The Bill, which is due before the Senate next week, tightens that by requiring a court order before the information can be released.

Senator Griff contends that enforcement agencies shouldn’t have access to this sensitive private information – full stop.

“I think people reasonably feel that their personal medical information is a matter between them and their healthcare provider only, and would be appalled at the possibility it could be used in unintended ways,” he said.

Senator Griff said the types of information available through My Health Record would be available through other means at the Government’s disposal - such as Medicare, to detect Medicare fraud for instance.

“We think disclosure of My Health Record data to law enforcement bodies and the Immigration department is an inappropriate use of personal health records, which should only be used to help people to manage their healthcare. Anything else should be dealt with outside the system.”

He has circulated an amendment which opposes section 69A of the Bill (disclosure only under court orders), and leaves the Bill to get rid of sections 70 (1) & (2) of the Act (disclosure for law enforcement purposes). In combination, this means that individual records cannot be disclosed for non-health related purposes (except as specified at Item 10 of the Bill and in Part 4, Division 2 of the Act). This retains the ability of the Australian Digital Health Agency to have misuse of the My Health Record investigated.

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