Can privacy and health identifiers mix?

Summary:A new 16-digit healthcare identifier for all Australians is a centrepiece of the Rudd Government's e-health strategy. The numbers are scheduled to be issued from 1 July, but have the privacy issues been properly thought out?

A new 16-digit healthcare identifier for all Australians is a centrepiece of the Rudd Government's e-health strategy. The numbers are scheduled to be issued from 1 July, but have the privacy issues been properly thought out?

The Healthcare Identifiers Bill (PDF) is currently making its way through parliament, but many key details have been left to be defined in regulations. After pressure in a Senate committee, Health Minister Nicola Roxon was forced to release draft regulations (PDF) on Friday, but they're still short on details.

In Patch Monday this week, Dr Juanita Fernando from the Australian Privacy Foundation outlines the privacy risks and explains that we could still get many of the benefits of integrated health records without having a central honeypot database of personal information.

And with state elections in Tasmania and South Australia this weekend, and a federal election expected some time this year, we look at internet voting. Security expert Jan Meijer helped organise one of the Netherlands' biggest online votes, and he explains the risks to Stilgherrian.

Plus we have the usual idiosyncratic look at the week's IT news headlines.

To leave an audio comment for Patch Monday, Skype to stilgherrian, or phone Sydney 02 8011 3733.

Topics: Health, Government : AU, Privacy, Security

About

Stilgherrian is a freelance journalist, commentator and podcaster interested in big-picture internet issues, especially security, cybercrime and hoovering up bulldust. He studied computing science and linguistics before a wide-ranging media career and a stint at running an IT business. He can write iptables firewall rules, set a rabbit tr... Full Bio

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