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What Privacy?

Australians have just over a couple of months to opt out of the MyHealth record system. And while the
Disruptors Handbook
What Privacy?
By Disruptors Handbook • Issue #106 • View online
Australians have just over a couple of months to opt out of the MyHealth record system. And while there are many arguments for opting out, there appear to be few arguments for staying in. And the major reason for the concern is the security risk associated with the data. The UK had to cancel its Care.data scheme because third parties such as drug and insurance companies were able to buy patient data. And the Australian MyHealth system is based on the same system, and even managed by the same person. The system is not just a risk for identity theft, it’s potentially a massive risk for personal privacy.  
What is considered ‘private’ is constantly changing, and varies by culture and even within social groups. And it’s certainly true that social media has changed our perception of what is private information. But there is still general acknowledgement that some information should always be considered sensitive and personal, and that no security agencies, governments or corporations should have unbridled access to that data. So how do you reconcile the convenience that can be derived from systematic sharing of personal data, with the maintenance of personal privacy?  
The obvious option is liberal application of encryption systems, but is encryption enough? Some commentators argue that the security risk problem is never going to be solved. All data has a certain level of vulnerability, and instead of fixating totally on securing information, what we need is the right and ability to control information held about us - and the right to be forgotten
In an era where inclusion, agency and autonomy are so valued, it’s ironic (and depressing) that the systems we deploy for productivity may be compromising these values. It may be as science fiction author, David Brin, once said - the issue of the information age is not privacy of information, but equity of exposure

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