Friday, November 16, 2018
In An Astonishing Revelation We Learn That The ADHA Is A Rudderless Ship As Far As Privacy Is Concerned.
This appeared late last week:
9 November 2018 — 4:00pm
The director of privacy at the agency behind My Health Record has quit, Fairfax Media can reveal, amid claims the organisation and Health Minister Greg Hunt have not been taking seriously enough the concerns of the agency’s internal privacy experts.
The resignation of the Australian Digital Health Agency’s director of privacy Nicole Hunt last month comes at a crucial time for the agency, which has faced criticism over its security and privacy policies, as it prepares to automatically enrol all Australians into having the online digital health file unless they opt out by November 15.
Ms Hunt has worked in roles across federal and state governments, including at the NBN, NSW Police, and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. The ADHA refused to confirm the resignation despite Ms Hunt's LinkedIn profile showing she now works in privacy at ANZ Bank.
Ms Hunt declined to comment for this story.
It is further understood that from December only one existing, dedicated privacy staff member will remain at the organisation, with one leaving the business to move overseas and another going on 12 months leave. At its peak, the privacy team has consisted of four people.
“The agency as a practice does not comment publicly on staffing matters,” an ADHA spokesperson said. “The agency has an experienced and well-resourced privacy team."
Asked if ADHA would replace Ms Hunt, the spokesperson said that it had restructured its privacy team to report to another director.
“The agency … has recently announced an internal restructure ... to ensure the agency is the right size and shape beyond the opt-out program," they said.
"These changes have not significantly changed the staffing profile or resourcing of our privacy team, but has brought the policy and privacy functions under one director position."
ADHA declined to state which director the privacy team would now report to, saying: "The agency has nothing further to add."
Two sources close to Ms Hunt confirmed that she had left the business out of frustration that privacy and security concerns her team had raised with senior management were often ignored.
“ADHA's privacy staff are very disillusioned that their advice and that of external privacy experts has not been listened to,” one source said, adding that there was a pattern of “not listening” at senior levels at ADHA and within Health Minister Greg Hunt's office, and that concerns were treated simply as management or public relations issues.
Said a second source: “I don’t think you are on the wrong track with the 'not listening'. They are hearing, they are listening to something, but they are reconfiguring it into another conversation; and it is not the conversation the Australian public want to have."
Besides being a great journalistic ‘get’ what an alarming story. We have the Government locked in discussions about Legislative Privacy Modifications as we run down to the opt-out deadline and the ADHA privacy team has wandered off in disgust because they are being ignored.
You really could not make this stuff up!
I hope you have opted out as you have now missed your chance - or you had when I first wrote this blog!
Posted by Dr David G More MB PhD at Friday, November 16, 2018