Turnbull government must notify Australians if their Medicare numbers have been breached

The Government’s admission that they had no idea that Medicare numbers of Australians were up for grabs on the internet is alarming.

CATHERINE KING MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE

MEMBER FOR BALLARAT

MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

HON LINDA BURNEY MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR HUMAN SERVICE

MEMBER FOR BARTON

 

TURNBULL GOVERNMENT MUST NOTIFY AUSTRALIANS IF THEIR MEDICARE NUMBERS HAVE BEEN BREACHED 

The Government’s admission that they had no idea that Medicare numbers of Australians were up for grabs on the internet is alarming.

Today it was confirmed that the Turnbull Government only found out about the serious breach of Government information when contacted by a journalist:

SAMANTHA MAIDEN: Is it correct that you did not know that this breach had occurred at all until the journalist contacted you from The Guardian?

ALAN TUDGE: That is correct.

[SKY NEWS, 5 JULY 2017]

What if the journalist had not discovered this breach? How long would this have gone on undetected?

This latest breach further exposes an incompetent government which can't be trusted to keep Australians' most sensitive data secure.

The Turnbull Government should now have the decency to inform Australians if their confidential Medicare numbers have been compromised - as they would have to do under the Government’s own mandatory data breach legislation starting next year.

Only last year more than a billion lines of confidential Medicare claims information were openly posted online and accessed more than 1500 times - and the Government didn't even bother telling GPs that their billing information had been compromised.

The breach is particularly concerning given the national rollout of the My Health Record, which will automatically create a detailed electronic health record for every single Australian unless they actively opt out.

We can't afford a Government which is asleep at the wheel on such sensitive information, and Australians now deserve to be informed if their Medicare numbers have been accessed.

Mandatory reporting of data breaches might not start until next year but the Turnbull Government should do the right thing now. They need to give Australians answers on whether their information has been compromised. 

WEDNESDAY, 5 JULY 2017