The Pirate Party is concerned about the ongoing attempts by Australian state and federal government to centralise and make available the private health data of ordinary Victorians as seen in the recent Health Legislation (Information Sharing) Bill 2023 (Vic).
Quote by Miles Whiticker, Pirate Party Australia National President:
“The current form of the bill is a significant threat to Victorians’ right to privacy. By not allowing patients to opt out of the scheme, we are creating a dangerous precedent that undermines the autonomy and privacy of every individual in the public health system.”
In 2018 the Pirate Party participated in the national campaign to encourage an individual opt out of MyHealthRecord, raising concerns about privacy and data security. We recognise the same issues re-emerging with this information sharing bill, particularly regarding the lack of an opt-out option and the implicitly increased risk of such a centralised data repository.
Quote by Simon Gnieslaw, spokesperson for the Pirate Party in Victoria:
“The Optus, Medibank and Latitude Financial data breaches are just the tip of the iceberg. Well before that, Medicare was compromised too. Data security in this country is an absolute joke, governments don’t even pay bug bounties – leaving no incentive for the “good guys” to find the problems first. This is not a question of “if”, but “when” this data will be hacked, or even be abused by the Government itself.
WorkSafe Victoria started a legal battle in 2021 to get access to contact tracing data to investigate a workplace safety issue, despite assurances that this data would only be used for contact tracing. The Victorian Government’s response to this was to attempt to suppress the fact that WorkSafe were requesting the data, instead of blocking the request. Had they been successful, we wouldn’t even have known that this data was being abused. How are we meant to trust government with our data?
The risk of our personal health information falling into the wrong hands, aside from being ‘none of their business’, is that if that data gets into the hands of private health insurers, they could essentially cheat the system by jacking up the premiums for people who they know are high-risk to unaffordable levels, which defeats the whole purpose of what insurance is for.”
The Pirate Party joins with Liberty Victoria , the Law Institute of Victoria , Australian Doctors Federation , Australian Privacy Foundation , , and Digital Rights Watch  in voicing concerns over the lack of patient privacy protections in the proposed bill. In particular we support the proposal of Liberty Victoria by calling for best practices in data protection, minimising data collection, requiring an opt-in for data sharing and supporting an explicit right to privacy.
Whiticker added, “At Pirate Party Australia, we have always stood for the protection of digital rights and privacy. This bill, in its current form, goes against our core values. We urge the Victorian Government to reconsider the bill and implement stronger privacy safeguards, including the ability for patients to opt out of the system.”
“We understand the need to improve efficiency and coordination within the healthcare system but this cannot come at the cost of sacrificing the privacy of Victorians. We must find a balanced solution that protects both the welfare of patients and their personal information.”
 https://libertyvictoria.org.au/content/liberty-victoria-comment-health-legislation-amendment-information-sharing-bill-2023-vic, accessed 2/4/2023
 https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/absolute-authority-call-to-halt-plan-to-collect-all-victorians-medical-records-20220309-p5a33m.html, accessed 2/4/2023
 https://digitalrightswatch.org.au/2023/02/23/vichealthinfosharing/, accessed 2/4/2023