Wednesday, July 27, 2016

If You Want A Reason To Keep Your Medical Records To Just Those You Really Trust This Is It!

This appeared a few days ago:

Terror review to consider giving spy agencies access to mental health records, Malcolm Turnbull says

July 22, 20169:53am
KARA VICKERY News Corp Australia Network
PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed he’s considering giving Australia’s spy agencies access to mental health records to help curb terrorism.
But he claims any such move would be carefully considered, acknowledging it would be a huge change to our mental health privacy system.
Mr Turnbull has asked counter-terrorism co-ordinator Greg Moriarty to conduct a review into what further measures Australia can take to protect itself in the wake of the deadly Nice attack, The Herald Sun has revealed.
Speaking to 3AW today, the Prime Minister said allowing spy agencies, including ASIO, to access mental health records was being looked at.
“What I’m saying to you is it’s important that this be looked at carefully,” he said.
“You’ve got a number of important interests to balance here. Mental health alone is a, leaving aside issues of terrorism, is a gigantic challenge.
“It is critical too that people feel and know that when they talk to, when the go to Headspace for example they do so confidentially and in a trusted environment.
“My most important obligation, my most important responsibility as Prime Minister of Australia, is to keep the people of Australia safe.”
More here:
While I can understand the Government’s motivation in this, it really seems to me this is a ‘reach  too far’ in terms of intrusion into people’s lives, unless the most stringent of safeguards is in place.
To me this would have to be that access to such records would require a warrant issued by an independent judicial officer (i.e. at least a District Court Judge) and that the patient be told that such access is being sought and why – and given a chance to appeal the issuance of such a warrant.
It seems to me that any person whose record is likely to reveal anything useful is just as likely to have covered their tracks pretty well, while those who pose essentially no threat will have more easily accessed records.
That said my usual advice on all this stands – you only want to give private health information to the Government that you are happy to see on the cover of the SMH!
One just feels the police state is one small step closer if we agree to intrusions like this!


Terry Hannan said...

Mental health sufferers are already afraid now they need to be "very afraid". Does an individuals 'delusions' in a mental exacerbation provide the justification for 'terrorist fears access"? As you stated David, this is a major personalised health issue.

Garry Boyd said...

lose/lose .......... increased anxiety for mental health sufferers and a flag-waving get out of gaol free card for those that seek to do us harm.
If this an example of Malcolm Turnbull's grand; "Innovation Plan" I don't think we need any more...

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with all comments here. This is yet another example of exposing the majority to risk/harm for most of the time in an effort/belief (no guarantee)to guard against infrequent and exceptional circumstances. Definitely more thought required. It is an easy option for government but far from the right option.