Media Release: 25 August, 2009: Privacy Commissioner backs Democrats’ concerns over e-health ID’s

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DARREN CHURCHILL

ACT Democrats President

Media Release: 25 August, 2009:

Privacy Commissioner backs Democrats’ concerns over e-health ID’s

“The Federal government must address privacy concerns over it’s national healthcare identity scheme,” says ACT Democrats president and privacy campaigner, Darren Churchill.

Reports in “The Australian”, 25 August 2009 have noted calls from Federal Privacy Commissioner, Karen Curtis that current laws are inadequate and that specific new legislation is needed to ‘ensure consistency of protections and penalties nationwide.’

“This is exactly the sort of concerns I raised on 1st July, when I called for the government to release the details of it’s Privacy Impact Assessments,” declared a concerned Mr Churchill. “What are they trying to hide?”

“I have had phonecalls and people are concerned about their privacy. But where is the consultation and public discussion about the national healthcare identity scheme? Beyond the industry lobby groups and stakeholders there has been nothing. No consultation with ordinary Australians.” continued Mr Churchill.

“I have publicly raised privacy concerns in July and in a submission in mid-August. So have civil liberties groups. Now the Privacy Commissioner has said she has concerns too. It’s about time the government took notice!”

“Whilst, there is potentially some good to be achieved in facilitating access to medical records to improve patient care. There needs to be a guarantee that it won’t become mandatory to present private personal details in order to access health care services or Medicare benefits.”

“And we need to be clear that there are consistent, uniform and appropriate laws as to who can see the records and when. Those laws should also protect against function creep and guarantee that this is not a backdoor method of introducing a national ID card.” Mr Churchill concluded

CONTACT:

Darren Churchill

ACT Democrats President

darren.churchill@act.democrats.org.au

Tel: 0412 196 473

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