“There are fears patients’ sensitive medical information could have been made public in a Medicare data breach by the health department.

Health Minister Sussan Ley insists the data, which was loaded onto the internet, does not identify patients. But Dr Nathan Pinskier, the chair of the RACGP expert committee for e-health, said it was possible patients could be distinguished amongst the data and such a breach could be could be “devastating”.

“There is a possibility individual consumers could be identified,” he said.  “…if you can identify data in a remote part of Australia where there’s only a few consumers you’ll be able to work out who they are pretty quickly.”

The privacy watchdog is investigating whether patients’ medical information was released and the government has rushed through a new privacy crime in the wake of the data breach.”


Author: Rania Spooner & Noel Towell, The Age