Health Minister extends MyHealth opt-out deadline again

Shadow health spokesperson Catherine King

Shadow health spokesperson Catherine

Mr Hunt's office said the Australian Digital Health Agency had "no evidence that any of these matters led to unauthorised access to any individuals' health information".

The opt-out period will be extended until January 31, 2019, however, it's important to note that people can opt-out at any time.

Incoming independent MP and former Australian Medical Association Kerryn Phelps backed the extension, saying there are critical privacy and security safeguards still to be legislated.

"To my knowledge, there is now no public disclosure of the precise security controls and technologies deployed for My Health Record, nor have audits been published or even their summaries", Ralph Holz, an expert in cybersecurity from the University of Sydney, tells The Daily Swig. "There are serious questions over privacy and security that need to be debated and legislated by the parliament".

King said: "There's no guarantee the legislation will even pass this year - meaning some Australians may opt out unnecessarily over concerns that are addressed by the legislation".

But Liberal senator Jane Hume said Australians have already had a "significant period" to opt-out of the initiative and will still be able to get rid of their record once the opt-out period lapses.

Added to this uneasiness is the fact that these records could potentially be accessed by any number of healthcare professionals.

People attempting to opt out took to social media to vent their frustrations.

"The #MyHealthRecord opt out webpage has crashed". If you don't want your health information shared you must tick a box when you activate your My Health Record.

"It just failed straight away", Jessup told Guardian Australia.

Dr Bernard Robertson-Dunn, Chair, Health Committee at the Australian Privacy Foundation preempted the potential technical difficulties and argues the opt out period should be extended to better inform Australians of the risks and benefits of the scheme.

Today, the Senate voted to extend My Health Record opt-out.

Despite privacy concerns, Mr Hunt said there had never been a reported security breach of the system.

Are you getting a digital My Health Record, or will you opt out?

"These issues have now been resolved", he said.

After the opt out period, parents or guardians of newborns will be able to opt out of having a My Health Record created for their child as part of their child's Medicare registration.

The Federal Government appears unlikely to extend the opt-out period, despite Opposition calls for a longer period to allow new protections to be made law.

Crossbenchers from across the political divide are likely to back Labor's call for a 12 month extension given One Nation, the Greens and other crossbenchers voted on Monday for the delay, with the non-binding motion passing 33 votes to 22.

He said these proposed amendments are on top of those announced in July that had been already passed by the House of Representatives.

Until now the government had been blocking all calls for an extension.

"Minister Hunt says there have been no breaches - but the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner appears to say something different", she told News Corp.

"Minister Hunt could have implemented an extension with the stroke of a pen weeks ago", Ms King said.

"This disquiet and concern can largely be attributed to the paucity of information about the opt-out campaign and the lack of balanced information of My Health Record on the government's websites which only spruik claimed benefits".

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