THE Human Rights Commissioner believes the government’s controversial digital health records system needs to improve, warning it could be a “honey-pot” for criminals.
Edward Santow said Australia could do better with the maligned My Health Record system, and that many people were concerned about secondary uses of personal health data.
“This can be a honey-pot for criminals who want to do us harm so there have to be really clear, strong, robust protections against that use,” Mr Santow told ABC radio on Tuesday.
Mr Santow said while most Australians would be pleased personal information could be used to improve healthcare, there were concerns about other uses for their data like chasing debts for healthcare.
Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone said health data already existed in “silos” and was open to the same security risk as if it was in a centralised space.
“We’ve been assured that this is the best level of possible protection that could be implemented, and we’ve got to go with that,” Dr Bartone told the ABC.
He said if the system was too “CIA fool-proof” then it would defeat its utility.
Cyber Security Minister Angus Taylor said having more systems using the government’s cloud would make them more secure.
“That essentially gives us the power to have more centralised, very expert-driven cyber security,” Mr Taylor told Sky News.
My Health Record has been operating for six years, with six million Australians participating.
People have a three-month window from July 16 to October 15 to opt out before a record is created.
Liberal backbencher Tim Wilson is among tens of thousands of people to withdraw from the system, while Labor said the deadline to opt out should be extended.