The first series was hosted by the wonderful William Verity and UOW Journalism student Hannah Laxton-Koonce.
Why can't we live together? Or maybe we can. We discuss the reality of 3D printing bones, tissues and maybe entire organs in humanity’s quest to beat disease and death.
Professor Gordon Wallace, Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science
Professor Katina Michael, School of Computing and Information Technology
This wonderful podcast series was the brainchild of Grant Reynolds of the Media Unit at the University of Wollongong. Grant also shares his reflections on why he began the series at the end of the final podcast of the first series titled: "Can you tell me why? Surprising Answers to Difficult Questions." As Grant himself notes, it is important to reach out to the wider community to demonstrate why academia is still important, that citizens should consider University entry a potential pathway, and to consider what researchers might add to a particular topic.
For more podcasts in the first series see: https://stand.uow.edu.au/can-you-tell-me-why/
- National biometric database to fight terrorism, identity theft and serious crimes
- Drivers' licences to start to be loaded into Home Affairs new database soon
- The new database can also be used in the prevent outbreaks of serious diseases
A national facial recognition database system is set to become Australia's latest weapon in the crackdown against terrorism, identity theft and serious crimes.
Millions of driver's licences will start to be loaded into the Department of Home Affairs new biometric database within months, which every Australian drivers licence could be linked within 18 months, The Courier-Mail has revealed.
Police are currently being trained to use the Driver Licence Facial Recognition Solution, the publication reported.
Firearms, fishing and proof-of-age cards can also be uploaded into the system which can hold up to 30 million licences.
The aim of the database is to give national and state law enforcement agencies a new crime fighting tool in their crackdown against terrorism, identity theft and serious crime.
To solve serious crimes, police will be able to run CCTV through the database, which will bring up to 20 possible suspects.
The database will also prevent outbreaks of serious diseases, where health agencies can request police to track down members of the public who came into contact with someone carrying a disease.
While all states and territories agreed to the identity-matching services last year, the federal government is yet to get new laws passed through parliament.
Privacy has been raised as a concern, along with the vulnerabilities of biometrics.
Around half of Australia's population already have some type of visual biometric stored in a nationally-accessible database, according to technology and legal expert Professor Katina Michael.
She told the ABC earlier this year that figure to grow will 80 per cent with the inclusion of drivers licences.
'It's not like a one-on-one match, where you put (in) an individual's face and say: 'they're a suspect',' Professor Michael said.
'But rather what you get returned is a number of possibilities … you might get back 15, or 20, or 30, or 50 matches.'
Citation: Kylie Stevens, August 6, 2018, "Face to face with Big Brother: Millions of driver's licences to be linked to proposed national facial recognition database", DailyMail: Australia, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6028795/Millions-drivers-licences-linked-proposed-national-facial-recognition-database.html
Are you addicted to your selfie?
An IT professor fears Alcoholics Anonymous-type groups, for people addicted to Instagram, Facebook and other social media, are the way of the future.
It could only be a matter of time before we see people saying, "My name is X and I'm a social media addict" in front of a group, and going "cold turkey" on social media in order to live a healthier and more stable life.
Professor Katina Michael of the University of Wollongong's School of Computing and Information Technology says Wifi has the power of junk food.
"When we have about 11 hours out of our 16 waking hours completely immersed in screens, you can call that normalised behaviour or you can call that addiction."
* Instagram is the worst social network for young people's mental health
* Woman went $14k into debt trying to get 'Instagram famous'
* New Zealand Instagram star @waverider_'s battle with depression
Professor Katina Michael says the cafe has a responsibility to teach their patrons responsible internet use.
Professor Katina Michael says the cafe has a responsibility to teach their patrons responsible internet use.
Michael doesn't think the effects of increasing technology use, will hit in about 10 years when young people who are growing up on screens enter the workforce.
"Their ability to be literate in basic English and mathematics is softening."
Michael said one of the main issues was the way in which off-line activities had moved online. Even signing up for a sports team was now an online activity.
Professor Katina Michael says we will see Al Anon style groups for internet addicts.
Professor Katina Michael says we will see Al Anon style groups for internet addicts.
Plus, tablet devices have incredible magnetic resonance affecting young people under the age of 12.
Her comments follow the launch of New Zealand's first "Instagrammable" cafe which opened in Auckland on Friday - a branch of bubble tea brand Gong Cha.
The cafe, which is marketing itself as being a friendly space to use the popular photo sharing app, includes backdrops, a hanging chair and USB ports for charging devices.
"People are using their phones a lot [more] ... We're trying to create a unique experience for our customers," Gong Cha New Zealand manager Marcus Teh said.
"We've created an Instagram area where people can take their pictures."
Although Teh agreed many young people were addicted to technology, he said it was difficult to control people's internet use from a business point of view.
"We don't see a point in restricting our customers who are coming to use Wifi," Teh said.
"So far, we haven't seen any misuse of time [on the internet] in our cafe."
But Michael held that the new cafe had a responsibility to look after its patrons.
"They have a responsibility to help their patrons not to suffer the same woes of those who have suffered big crises [people dying from video game addiction] in South Korea," she said.
Modelled after popular Taiwan-style bubble tea shops, Gong Cha was founded in Kaoshiung, Taiwan in 2006.
The brand has over 600 stores across Asia, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
Citation: MATTHEW ROSENBERG, August 1 2018, "'Instagrammable' cafe opens, as academic warns of rising rates of social media addiction", Stuff.co, https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/105866033/Instagrammable-cafe-opens-as-academic-warns-of-rising-rates-of-social-media-addiction
Article syndicated to Independent on Aug 1, also. https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/105866033/Instagrammable-cafe-set-to-feed-young-peoples-internet-addiction-Professor
We live in a world of screens. The average adult spends the majority of their waking hours in front of some sort of screen or device. We’re enthralled, we’re addicted to these machines. How did we get here? Who benefits? What are the cumulative impacts on people, society and the environment? What may come next if this culture is left unchecked, to its end trajectory, and is that what we want?
Stare Into The Lights My Pretties investigates these questions with an urge to return to the real physical world, to form a critical view of technological escalation driven by rapacious and pervasive corporate interest. Covering themes of addiction, privacy, surveillance, information manipulation, behaviour modification and social control, the film lays the foundations as to why we may feel like we’re sleeprunning into some dystopian nightmare with the machines at the helm. Because we are, if we don’t seriously avert our eyes to stop this culture from destroying what is left of the real world.
Program title: Stare Into The Lights My Pretties.
Duration: 120 minutes.
Year of Production: 2017.
Full version screener: https://stareintothelightsmypretties.jore.cc/files/StareIntoTheLightsMyPretties_1080p-4982k.mp4
IMDB Entry: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7762882/
- By the end of this year, electronic health records will be set up for every Australian, including children
- They can be accessed by you, your doctor and other healthcare professionals
- You can opt out until 15 October 2018
- Six million Australians already have a record – some without their knowledge
- Health care experts welcome the new centralised record, but security experts warn of data breaches that can expose sensitive data
Do you need health insurance? Try out our tool to find out if it's worth it for you.
By the end of 2018, the federal government will have set up an electronic health record for all your health data – including sensitive issues like mental health treatments and other conditions you may wish to remain private – unless you opt out by 15 October 2018.
Doctors will be able to access your record to assist in their treatment of you, which could be essential in emergency situations. But security experts warn privacy breaches are only a matter of time.
There's been a lot of public discussion since the three month opt-out period started last week. So we've looked into the pros and cons to help you decide if you want in or out.
- What is My Health Record?
- How it works
- Benefits and concerns
- How to opt out
- How to manage your record
- What the experts say – health benefits versus privacy and security risks
What is My Health Record?
My Health Record is a digital collection of reports relating to your health, such as prescriptions, doctors records, imaging and other test results. What it means is that instead of having files with every doctor you've seen, test results at a pathology lab, prescription records at various pharmacies and so on, all this information will be in one central online location accessible by authorised health professionals.
Relaunch of existing program
Technically what we're seeing now is the My Health Record Expansion Program. The original Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) program was launched in 2012 as an opt-in system, with low uptake by the public.
The current push is to expand the system by making it opt-out so that by default, everyone has a record made for them unless they specifically request not to have one.
How My Health Record works
The data that will be added isn't new, but it's currently stored by Medicare, your doctor, hospital or other health professionals, sometimes in a paper-based system. What's new is that electronic records will be stored in one central place.
Information can be added to your health record by various health professionals and businesses, government agencies and yourself. It can be accessed by authorised health professionals, such as doctors, pharmacists, hospital staff and allied health professionals (for example nurses or physiotherapists).
The sorts of things that might go in there include doctor's reports, such as hospital discharge summaries, and results from tests and scans. It also includes all your Medicare claims and you can add your allergies and even an advanced care plan.
You can access and manage your record. You can set a PIN and restrict access to some or all documents stored on the record. You can even connect any health apps you're using to your record.
In an emergency, health care professionals will be able to override the safeguards to make sure they get all the information needed to provide you with appropriate care.
You may already have a record
Some people may already have a record, having set one up – perhaps without even realising – under the original system (the PCEHR). Almost 6 million people currently have a record. Check if you're one of them.
If you miss the deadline to opt-out or you already have a record, you can cancel it. However, any existing data won't be deleted, but stored for 130 years after your birth or 30 years after your death. While the data is stored, no one will be able to see or access it except through the digital health agency.
Your doctor and other healthcare providers may keep copies of any records they have uploaded to your record and store them in their own record-keeping systems.
Benefits and concerns
The main benefit of My Health Record is that all of your and your children's healthcare professionals will know the medication you're taking and the conditions you're treated for.
People who are most likely to benefit are those who:
- have complex health conditions
- take multiple prescription medicines
- get treatment from various doctors and other health professionals
- live in remote and rural areas
- are elderly
- don't speak English very well
- have difficulty remembering and/or communicating all the details of their medical story.
My Health Record should lead to better and well-coordinated treatment, while preventing unnecessary tests, harmful side effects caused by medication mix-ups, or even avoidable hospital admissions.
There are safeguards in place, so you can manage your My Health Record by installing a PIN and limiting the access to some or all documents to make sure that your emergency contact, carer and healthcare professional only have access to appropriate information.
But security experts warn that centrally stored information always brings the risk that in the event of a data breach there could be serious implications for you. And it would not be the first time healthcare data has been accessed by hackers.
And privacy concerns have been raised about the possibility that your health details could be released to the police and other agencies in certain circumstances.
If you can't decide whether you want to stay in or opt out, you can always opt out now, then rejoin at a later stage.
Want to share your opinion on My Health Record? Join the discussion on the CHOICE.Community forum.
How to opt out or manage your record
You can use the step-by-step guides on the My Health Record website, and if you run into trouble call the helpline on 1800 723 471.
Further details are below for different situations.
What the experts say
Medical experts such as the Australian Medical Association, the National Rural Health Alliance and the Consumers Health Forum have welcomed the new system and asked consumers to use the opt-out period to inform themselves about the benefits or otherwise of taking part.
Security experts, while acknowledging the potential benefits of having a centralised record system, warn that the safeguards could be breached which could expose sensitive information.
- Professor Vijay Varadharajan – Global Innovation Chair in Cyber Security, University of Newcastle
- Professor Katina Michael – School of Computing and Information Technology, University of Wollongong
"The type of confidential information stored on an electronic health record is unlike having merely your identity credentials stolen – it is like having your whole personhood exposed in terms of your condition, medication, past acts and more. There are massive implications for those working in pressured workplaces who may have their health record used against them – e.g. pilots, doctors, surgeons, healthcare workers.
"We need to make people aware of the pros and cons of opting-out, but we also need better, more honest reporting by government about some of the potential risks, in essence, to better inform the public. What we have now is a major honeypot of health data, waiting to be hacked for the taking and be available on the dark web."
- Dr Cassandra Cross – Faculty of Law, The Queensland University of Technology
Citation: Karina Bray, July 23, 2018, "My Health Record – what you need to know
My Health Record promises better coordinated health care for all Australians – but what about privacy and security concerns?", Choice.com.au, https://www.choice.com.au/health-and-body/health-practitioners/online-health-advice/articles/my-health-record-and-what-you-need-to-know?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=my-health-record
I don't occasionally mind the odd call up to do media work on the weekends. Channel 10 News airing an important story today related to non-work-related Internet use in the workplace and what it is doing to employee productivity and what it is costing businesses in real terms. Kimberley Pratt from Channel 10 got in contact early this morning to see if I would be interested to cover the story. A little difficult on a Sunday morning but said I could make myself available by 1.30pm, but there was no film crew available for that timeslot.
Last year several University of Tasmania academics reported an opinion piece to the ABC based on a 273 person survey. They wrote:
"Cyberloafing — engaging in non-work online activities while "on the clock" — is a modern form of counterproductive workplace behaviour.
Rather than stealing company goods, the modern work environment with its various digital devices easily allows many employees to essentially steal company time.
Cyberloafing can lack malicious intent, but not always.
In fact, in our study, we found cyberloafing can be associated with everyday levels of "dark" personality traits and a perceived ability to get away with it."
Here is some advice for employers, although I do not endorse this kind of surveillance as it does not give the individual an ability to rehabilitate, it is simply workplace monitoring. My issue with this kind of telecommunications monitoring advice has to do with blanket coverage surveillance when only about 1% of the employees are causing the damage.
Here is some advice for what employees should NEVER do on their work computer.
It seems a lot of employers are getting tougher with their IT Acceptable Use Policy as costs related to Internet downloads and costs to productivity are being calculated as significant expenditures.
Kimberley sent through the following stats from an article that appeared in the Daily Telegraph:
- 42% are checking their phones 7 times per day.
- 5.2% admit to being distracted 15 times per day.
- 92% are spending up to 90 minutes of work time scrolling their feeds.
- It takes 23 minutes to return to the same level of concentration following distraction.
If the film crew had been available, I would have spoken about the following things, taken verbatim from articles I have previously written on the topic.
Barring sleep, we have just 16 hours each day to live our conscious lives. If we spend 11 of them online, at a console, or in a game, that's 69% of our waking lives. No matter how you slice it, that's a lot of screen time . Even those figures may underreport the problem. A recent study from comScore and Jumptap shows total U.S. Internet use nearly doubled between 2010 and 2013, from 451 billion minutes to 890 billion minutes .
Most of us legitimately require screen time for work, but we often get stuck there. How many times have we said, “I'm just going to check my email, or update my professional profile, or play one more quick round of this game,” only to find ourselves, stiff and aching, two hours later, with papers ungraded, chores undone, and dinner unmade? And even though we recognize this, we keep repeating the cycle.
This tendency to be time-sucked by our devices seems to be a universal feature of the technology, experienced by all cultures that have adopted it. It's not just South Korea and China, but all of us who are allowing our real lives to fade into secondary importance as we spend ever more time locked-in by the always-on, ever beckoning digital world. Filmmaker Shlam gets it right when she warns that “something is getting lost” in our physical, real, everyday lives.
The productivity void of all these wasted hours is already beginning to alarm U.S. employers, as analysts bemoan that employees spend one quarter of their online time at the office on non-work related Internet surfing, thus squandering an average of five hours per week . Yet where are the experts calculating the loss of quality parenting hours? Marriage hours? Study hours? Playing, tinkering, walking, cooking, exercising, dancing, music-making, lovemaking, stargazing, living hours ?
- FOMO (fear of missing out)
- FOBO (fear of being off the grid)
- Nomophobia (the fear of being without a mobile phone).
At work, 60 to 80 percent of the time on the Internet is non-work-related, and consumes on average nearly one quarter of a worker’s day.
Whether online seeking information or entertainment, we all browse. Why? It’s easy! In the middle of serious research we can be inspired by one questionable sentence to leap to another source, then another, and another, hoping to assemble a logical solution to the issue we are researching. And, frankly, we wonder how any single source can be the “best” one—accurate, complete, etc. We are also prompted to source-hop when we suspect what we believed to be an unbiased discussion is in fact a commercial in disguise. Rabbit holes.
She said young people needed to balance their technology use with some form of physical or real-life social activity.
Part-time work can also be helpful in reducing the amount of time available to spend on social media.
We need to replace some of this addiction behaviour with real physical activity in the real world.
Work-related accidents pertaining to mobiles and tablets are increasing.
Some of most connected countries in the world have researchers that have developed scales to identify addiction/overuse. University of Bergin in Norway, Facebook addiction scale; you have Smartphone Addiction Scale in South Korea etc
Yet, alarmingly, one recognized industry report, “Digital Down Under,” stated that 13.4 million Australians spent a whopping 18.8 h a day online . This statistic has been contested but commensurately backed by Lee Hawksley, managing director of ExactTarget Australia, who oversaw the research. She has gone on record saying, “...49% of Australians have smartphones, which means we are online all the time…from waking to sleep, when it comes to e-mail, immersion, it’s even from the 18–65s; however, obviously with various social media channels the 18–35s are leading the charge.”
According to the same study, roughly one-third of women living in New South Wales are spending almost two-thirds of their day online. And it is women who are 30% more likely to suffer anxiety as a result of participating in social media than men –. This is even greater than the Albrecht and Michael deduction of 2014, which estimated that people in developed nations are spending an average of 69% of their waking life behind the screen . That is about 11 h behind screens out of 16 waking hours. But, no doubt, people are no longer sleeping 8 h with access to technology at arm’s reach within the bedroom, and, as a result, cracks are appearing in relationships, employment, severe sleep deprivation, and other areas as a result of screen dependencies .
Internet-enabled television (e.g., Netflix), play stations (for video games), desktops (for browsing), tablets (for pictures and editing), and smartphones (for social media messaging)
In 1999, a multinational company I worked for, dismissed 25 employees, some of them senior executives, for having cyberporn on their work computers. The majority of individuals engaged in this were located in the US with only one individual identified in Asia.
I also noted to Kimberley: the stats are accurate- I would say the overall figures would be even higher. From memory, 24% of Internet-related time is on non-work related things. People are heavily distracted. The distraction is allowed because allegedly it makes people more productive. I don't buy into the latter. We have a fractured workforce as a result of everything now being online- banking, bill paying, kids school reports and absence and excursion permission notes, blah blah blah...
Addicts are 'obvious'- they disappear from sight for large blocks of time feigning the need for an early lunch break or "emergency". Facebook and Instagramming (both owned by same company) are the most toxic. Instant messaging has usurped emailing and even texting...
For men, the issue is online gaming/Tindering at work rather than social media like Facebook for women. In my 22 years in the workplace I've seen everything from one woman printing out in high definition color her wedding invitations to hundreds of guests, to bruised knuckles on pointer fingers from the constant social media scrolling, to people who turn up to work some days completely out of it because they've been up all night "searching" rabbit holes and who are otherwise great employees.
The Health Minister has defended My Health Record as having Defence-level security, as the Shadow Minister declares the beginning of the opt-out period “shocking”
And experts have highlighted a number of areas of concern around privacy, with one calling the record “a major honeypot of health data, waiting to be hacked”.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has told Fairfax Media that the system, which has been active for six years – though has only become opt-out recently following a trial in two parts of the country – has military-grade security and has never been breached.
The My Health Record system has multiple layers of security to protect access to the system, including defence level encryption, secure gateways and firewalls, authentication mechanisms, and malicious content filtering, he said in a statement this week.
The Australian Digital Health Agency’s Cyber Security Centre monitors for suspicious activities and the centre will trigger an investigation when required, Mr Hunt said.
He also told ABC Radio Melbourne’s Jon Faine that he is “very comfortable” with the system, and that individuals have “total control” over their record.
During the interview ABC staff attempted to sign onto the My Health Record system and an error message was returned.
“The system’s not working as you speak and say anyone at any time, as you just said. In fact, it’s not working,” Mr Faine told the Minister, who said in response that “we have six million Australians doing it”.
“I guess the alternative is—are we saying that Australia shouldn’t have a modern system that allows for diagnoses, medicine, other records, vaccination, all to be available to the consumer?” Minister Hunt said.
Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare Catherine King said that “Greg Hunt must immediately explain what he’s doing to address the problems plaguing his e-health rollout, which are preventing people from opting out of the My Health Record”.
“The first 24 hours of the opt-out period have been a disaster – confirming Labor’s fears that Malcolm Turnbull and Greg Hunt are simply incapable of getting a rollout of this size and ambition right,” she said.
“This Government is far from competent. They have a woeful record on IT security, privacy and basic digital functionality.
“They gave us census fail, the robodebt debacle, and then allowed Australians’ Medicare data to be sold on the dark web. And now they have stuffed up the launch of the My Health Record opt-out period.”
She said that Labor supports e-health but the Government has mishandled the My Health Record process, saying people experienced “long delays and technical faults” as they attempted to opt out on Monday, 16 July, the first day on which they were able to do so.
Dr Katina Michael, a professor in the School of Computing and Information Technology at the University of Wollongong, said that electronic health records make sense but “must be done the right way”.
The prospect for data discovery, patient welfare, and convenience is a value proposition that must be weighed up against risks and potential costs to individuals.
“Privacy breaches are asymmetric. But the type of confidential information stored on an electronic health record, is unlike having merely your identity credentials stolen—it is like having your whole personhood exposed in terms of your condition, medication, past acts, and more,” she says.
“There are massive implications for those working in pressured workplaces who may have their health record used against them- e.g. pilots, doctors, surgeons, healthcare workers.
“The implications for whether health insurance companies will have access to this data in the future is also questionable. Will it cost more to insure a child suffering from autism, or one born with Down Syndrome versus a child who seemingly is ‘normal’. Might this cause a chilling effect over disclosure of illnesses, meaning the people who need the care the most are disadvantaged from the outset?
“We need to make people aware of the pros and cons of opting-out, but we also need better more honest reporting by government about some of the potential risks, in essence, to better inform the public.
“What we have now is a major honeypot of health data, waiting to be hacked for the taking and be available on the dark web.
“We also need to call for urgent reforms, that if data is compromised, there is a privacy tort allowing people to sue the company or GP or government that has allows a data breach to occur.”
Bruce Arnold, an Assistant Professor in the School of Law at the University of Canberra, said that My Health Record has been “sadly oversold”.
“Implementation of My Health Record shows that the Australian government has learnt nothing from the UK e-health trainwreck,” he said.
“In the UK patients, health practitioners, IT specialists and privacy lawyers alike condemned inadequate governance, misunderstanding of risk and disregard for patient autonomy. The UK government belatedly heeded those criticisms in, for example, the 2013 Caldicott report Information: To Share Or Not To Share? Independent review of how information about patients is shared across the health and care system. Australia has not.
“A properly designed and implemented national e-health regime offers considerable benefits for patients, clinicians and researchers. The risks of an insecure system that conscripts patients (and assumes de-identification will enable problem-free sale of bulk health data) greatly outweigh those benefits.
“Legal protection for patient privacy under My Health Record are for example inadequate. So is the IT framework. Audit trails will not reclaim a patient’s privacy when a data breach occurs.”
The PSA, however, has welcomed the the Australian Digital Health Agency’s invitation for Australians to join My Health Record.
“My Health Record will empower Australians to take ownership of their health information by managing privacy and controlling who has access to their health information,” says national president Dr Shane Jackson.
“Pharmacists now will be able to more actively support patients with their medication management needs, especially those with complex chronic disease. These patients often take multiple medications and a connected My Health Record system will ensure health professionals have the information they need at the point of care to support patients with their healthcare.
“Pharmacists have a vital role to play wherever medicines are used, and PSA, as the peak national body for pharmacists, is collaborating with the Agency to help pharmacists guide their patients through this important decision.
“The information in My Health Record will allow pharmacists to provide better coordinated care for their patients, which is why over 3,200 pharmacies are already connected to the system.”
Source: Megan Haggan, July 17, 2018, "Opt-Out Period Begins with 'Disaster', Australian Journal of Pharmacy Blog, https://ajp.com.au/news/opt-out-period-begins-with-disaster/
Publicly released: Mon 16 Jul 2018 at 1730 AEST | 1930 NZST
The opt-out period for the federal government’s ‘My Health Record’ national electronic database has begun, and there are reports that privacy concerns remain. Earlier this month, it was revealed Australia's biggest online doctor booking service, Health engine — one of My Health Record's partner apps — had been passing on patient information to third parties, including legal firms. And it's up to patients to set their own privacy and access settings.
Organisation/s: The University of Newcastle, University of Canberra, University of Wollongong, The University of Western Australia, Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
These comments have been collated by the Science Media Centre to provide a variety of expert perspectives on this issue. Feel free to use these quotes in your stories. Views expressed are the personal opinions of the experts named. They do not represent the views of the SMC or any other organisation unless specifically stated.
Associate Professor Niranjan Bidargaddi is an Associate Professor of Personal Health Informatics at Flinders University
"We are currently trialling an intervention which uses myHealth Records to prevent hospitalisations in individuals with severe mental illnesses (aisquared.co). It is an innovative and first of its kind intervention, which applies machine learning on Medicare claims data in My Health Records (MyHR) to detect hospitalisation risk and raise alerts, to support patients with treatment adherence reminders, and to assist clinicians to intervene early.
This intervention is most effective on patients who are most at risk, but these patients find it burdensome and distressing to set up myHR accounts. So far in our trial we observed patients are experiencing significant difficulties to enroll with myHealth Records, and we also found mental health health professionals do not have sufficient time and energy to support patients in this enrolment process.
It is excellent to see myHR move towards a opt-out process with sensible safeguards in place, as this way we would be able to develop digitally-enabled care models to support and manage patients with greatest need, as these vulnerable groups will most definitely miss out on care if we were to not set up a opt-out process."
Last updated: 17 Jul 2018 11:23am
Mr Liam Pomfret is an Associate Lecturer in Marketing in the School of Business at The University of Queensland
"In an environment where we seem to be hearing about a new data breach practically every few days, My Health Record is yet another privacy and security nightmare.
Our health records are some of the most sensitive information we have, yet the privacy controls My Health Record offers to patients are dubious at best.
Opting out of My Health Record isn’t just the one-time act of filling out a form either. All it might take to opt you right back in is someone at your GP’s office being careless as they rushed through typing in your patient data and forgetting to check a box.
Once that record is created, it’s there basically forever. You can opt-out again, but that won’t delete the data that’s already there.
While it’s currently prohibited for My Health Record data to be sold to third parties like insurance companies, just in the last month My Health Record partner app HealthEngine was caught sharing information with Slater and Gordon without the knowledge of patients.
It’s not a question of if My Health Record data will be misused. It’s only a question of when, and by whom."
Last updated: 17 Jul 2018 10:33am
Liam is a board member of both the Australian Privacy Foundation, and Electronic Frontiers Australia. Both organisations are calling for Australians to opt-out of My Health Record.
Dr Cassandra Cross is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at The Queensland University of Technology
"The current My Health Record places a strong onus on individual consumers themselves to regulate the privacy and security settings of their record. While these settings exist, they are not the default option, and instead require individuals to know about this, to log into their record and to navigate the site in order to select the correct settings in order to exercise their control. In requiring an “opt in” model on the privacy settings of the record, this means that many people are unlikely to modify these settings. This may be through a lack of knowledge that the settings exist, uncertainty on how to do this, or an inability to successfully navigate the system.
There are also genuine concerns over the likelihood of data being compromised in some way. While it is argued that there are strong security measures in place, it is naïve to assert that these are 100% foolproof (as demonstrated through data breach incidents with many previous organisations). Health data is an increasingly common and attractive source of data for criminals, and their ability to use personal information to gain reward is a reality. This may be through means such as identity theft, fraud or other offences. Alternatively, the compromise of sensitive health information can open individuals up to blackmail and extortion from offenders, who may threaten to expose an aspect of an individual that has previously been private."
Last updated: 16 Jul 2018 5:54pm
Bruce Arnold is an Assistant Professor in the School of Law at the University of Canberra
"Implementation of MyHR shows that the Australian government has learnt nothing from the UK e-health trainwreck. In the UK patients, health practitioners, IT specialists and privacy lawyers alike condemned inadequate governance, misunderstanding of risk and disregard for patient autonomy. The UK government belatedly heeded those criticisms in, for example, the 2013 Caldicott report Information: To Share Or Not To Share? Independent review of how information about patients is shared across the health and care system. Australia has not.
A properly designed and implemented national e-health regime offers considerable benefits for patients, clinicians and researchers. The risks of an insecure system that conscripts patients (and assumes de-identification will enable problem-free sale of bulk health data) greatly outweigh those benefits. Legal protection for patient privacy under MyHR are for example inadequate. So is the IT framework. Audit trails will not reclaim a patient’s privacy when a data breach occurs. Official expectations that many patients will understand security settings are naïve. MyHR has been sadly over-sold. There’s been little effort to provide patients with the basis for meaningfully informed consent. That threatens the most fundamental aspect of public health: trust"
Last updated: 16 Jul 2018 5:52pm
Dr David Glance is Director of the Centre for Software Practice at The University of Western Australia
"The move to opt out, in addition to being a major privacy risk for the public, ignores the persistent and significant issues with the implantation of My Health Record. After all of this time and with the billions of dollars of investment, the majority of the records are largely empty and the majority of health professionals in Australia continue to refuse to support the system. This programme gives the impression that this is a viable system. It is not and nor will it ever be."
Last updated: 16 Jul 2018 5:51pm
Dr Katina Michael is a professor in the School of Computing and Information Technology at the University of Wollongong
"Electronic health records make sense in a society undergoing digital transformation in every aspect of life. But it must be done the right way. The prospect for data discovery, patient welfare, and convenience is a value proposition that must be weighed up against risks and potential costs to individuals.
Privacy breaches are asymmetric. But the type of confidential information stored on an electronic health record, is unlike having merely your identity credentials stolen- it is like having your whole personhood exposed in terms of your condition, medication, past acts, and more. There are massive implications for those working in pressured workplaces who may have their health record used against them- e.g. pilots, doctors, surgeons, healthcare workers.
The implications for whether health insurance companies will have access to this data in the future is also questionable. Will it cost more to insure a child suffering from autism, or one born with Down Syndrome versus a child who seemingly is "normal". Might this cause a chilling effect over disclosure of illnesses, meaning the people who need the care the most are disadvantaged from the outset.
We need to make people aware of the pros and cons of opting-out, but we also need better more honest reporting by government about some of the potential risks, in essence, to better inform the public. What we have now is a major honeypot of health data, waiting to be hacked for the taking and be available on the dark web. We also need to call for urgent reforms, that if data is compromised, there is a privacy tort allowing people to sue the company or GP or government that has allows a data breach to occur."
Last updated: 16 Jul 2018 5:49pm
Microsoft Chair Professor in Innovation in Computing Director: Advanced Cyber Security Research Centre
"With the rapid increase in the amount of digital information, there has been a growing trend in recent times to store data in such a way that it can be accessed by relevant stakeholders anytime and on-demand.
In this sense, having access to patient records can be highly useful, especially when it comes to requiring them in the case of emergency or even with old age patients. However data security and patient privacy are critical when it comes to healthcare information. Though the New Health Record system has been around for a few years as opt-in, now it is becoming opt-out. This means every Australian citizen will have such a record unless she or he decides to opt out.
From usage point of view, a major issue is education of users in terms of privacy controls and their ability and competency in setting the controls etc. I believe it is important that substantial amount of work needs to be done in this area for the community to become familiar with the system as well as to develop trust.
From a technical point of view, there are access controls in place. However the data itself, at this stage, is in plain format, it is not encrypted. Hence there is a potential for leakage if a breach occurs. With the growth in malware and security attacks, we cannot rule this possibility out. With the Mandatory Data Breach regulation, there will be an onus on the part of the agency that is storing the data to notify the users in case of breaches. But given the personal nature of such information, once the data breach happens the harm done may be difficult to reverse.
In this regard, there are technologies available that can help to protect the data via encryption and still allow the user (patient) requirements and policies to be enforced on the encrypted data.
This also brings another issue as to where is the data stored. If the data is stored in a cloud, then the cloud administrators can have access to the data (there can be many such administrators). This can be an issue especially if the data is stored in plain format. Hence there is a case for the data to be stored in encrypted form thereby reducing the trust on the cloud provider as well as reducing the vulnerability due to a data breach.
Then there are issues down the road as to which other applications and services on the platform (government or third party) are allowed to access the data? What are the controls that are in place (and how much does the patient have a say when it comes to sharing of data between different services)?
On the process side, there are also some issues which are not fully clear. For instance, if someone opts-in now, can she or he opt out later? What happens to their records?"
Last updated: 16 Jul 2018 5:46pm
Source: Various Authors, July 16, 2018, Scimex: breaking science news for Australia and New Zealand: AUS SMC, https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/expert-reaction-my-health-record-opt-out-period-opens,-but-privacy-concerns-remain
Today marks the beginning of the opt-out period for the nation wide medical information database called the "my health record". If a person does NOT want their medical information stored in a government run database, they have until October 15th to leave the program.
Despite concerns about privacy from the public and interested groups, Dr Steve Hambelton from the Australian Digital Health Agency said, "I can absolutely categorically state that none of the ... My Health Record data will be able to be sold to third parties — that's absolutely prohibited,"
But despite calls from the government for trust in the system, personal privacy remains a point of contention in the medical database. Could it be hacked by a malicious party? What safeguards are in place? Just who has access to the data?
To discuss privacy concerns I spoke to Dr Katina Michael, professor in the School of Computing and Information Technology at the University of Wollongong.
And later on in the show, Rohan McKnight, Digital Health Manager South Eastern NSW Primary Health Network, a company contracted to gather some of the data, joined us.
Citation: Katina Michael with Lindsay McDougall, July 16, 2018, "Opting Out of MyHealthRecord", ABC Illawarra 96.7FM, https://soundcloud.com/doctormcdougall/my-health-report-soundcloudmp3
A company that issues Aviation Security Identity Cards (ASIC) which are designed to prevent terrorists and organised criminals from accessing planes has been hacked this week. Hundreds of people renewing or applying for their Identity cards had learnt on Wednesday through an email issued by the company of a data breach in which they could not even specify what information was stolen. People who have these cards need to give a large amount of personal information in order to gain security clearance in airport, so just changing your password is not enough in this case. 2SER was joined by Dr Katina Michael, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences from University of Wollongong to discuss if Australian airport security is at risk.
Citation: Katina Michael with Sean Britten, July 13, 2018, "Airport Security Data Breach", 2ser.com, https://2ser.com/airport-security-data-breach/
The Alumni Relations Team will present the next Knowledge Series event featuring a panel discussion on The disrupted digital frontier: How emerging technology of today will shape who we become tomorrow.
Technology has created a state of perpetual revolution and is already disrupting traditional markets and social structures, changing the way we interact with the world around us.
Digital disruption will eventually affect every corner of Australian business and society. It will rewrite economics, scramble supply chains, blur category boundaries and make us question our ethics.
The panel includes Professor Katina Michael, Dr Shahriar Akter, Dr Alex Badran, Dr Thomas Birtchnell, Kylie Cameron and Dane Sharp.
Join us on 12 July at The Mint in Sydney to explore the technological, social and economic impacts that these emerging technologies are having.
Many parents will tell you that getting their teenagers away from the screens is harder than sailing around the world in a yacht.
Some parents in Australia have had enough and are sending their tech-addicted teenagers to boot camp to help kick their technology addiction.
Thanks @abcnews for a honest report about our Junior Leader Program. #veteranmentors #adolescentdevelopment http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/worldtoday/veteran-mentors/8984084 …
The nine-day boot camp run by ex-service men and women is using both physical and mental military might to train kids to do “real stuff” and step out of the virtual world, reported 7News.
Glenn Filtness of Veteran Mentors, who is leading the group of soldiers in a bid to transform young Australian lives, said the camp helps children learn important life lessons.
“We have kids coming in that are lacking self-confidence and addicted to technology,” Filtness told 7News.
“It is fun, challenging and can help to arm them with management skills and resilience that will help them forge ahead into adulthood and on into workforce,” according to the Veteran Mentors website.
Filtness said that as soon as participants arrive, it’s strictly no technology.
“The second they get on our bus we take their phones and any technology they have off them straight away,” Filtness told the news station.
Health and wellbeing play a huge role in our Junior Leader Program.
Here are just a few reasons why. https://www.veteranmentors.com.au/choose-health/
Most of the former Australian soldiers who are running the camp have come straight from the frontline of Afghanistan and Iraq.
The participants are put through rigorous daily routines and activities such as physical training and nutritional education, making beds, polishing their boots, ironing their uniform, cleaning their barracks, and marching.
According to the Veteran Mentors website, the benefits of a digital detox include: additional sleep and exercise, better personal control, increased positivity and confidence, less instance of behavioural issues, heightened social skills and interactions, and increased productivity.
“If you ask people to report on how often they use their smartphones, they may under report or they may be missing information and consider themselves average users,” she said.
“We see others on smartphones at train stations, bus stops and at work and we think it’s become a normalised activity,” she added.
Michael said young people were spending a cumulative 3.5 hours per day on social media, reported the ABC.
“I think more and more adolescents are considering that the pressures of social media are so vast that it’s best to get off,” she told the news broadcaster.
“[Young people] need to be connected and feel they can’t be disconnected, and a quarter of our teens are constantly connected and send about 150 texts per day,” she added.
The tech detox, which is held on the Gold Coast, isn’t cheap, at more than AU$4,000, however, Filtness said the program is effective.
“It’s very tough for the participants and that’s why it’s effective – if it wasn’t tough it wouldn’t work,” Filtness told the news station.
Citation: Katina Michael speaks with Mariano Trevino, 18 June 2018, EducationHQ, https://au.educationhq.com/
Citation: Anna Doherty & Julia Zolkiewska, (June 17, 2018), "The Ethics and Advancing ICT", Video Filming, UOW.
Katina Michael with Nick Rheinberger, "Is encryption a human right?", ABC Illawarra: Mornings, May 18, 2018.
Katina Michael with Ally Crew, "Family Planning NSW Data Breach Financially Motivated", ABC Radio National Australia. May 14, 2018.
Thanks to executive producer Eleni Psaltis.
Citation: Katina Michael with Richa Sharma (WION), May 4, 2018, "Facial Recognition in Airports", WION: India's First Global Channel, http://www.wionews.com/
Assistant Producers Latika Chugh (WION); Neha Dan (WION):
TOPIC - Facial recognition at Airports
- --how will it help?
- --can it stops or help catch criminals?
- --how will it make the entire airport experience more efficient?
- --will it use biometrics?
- --will the biometrics be stored?
- --if the biometrics are being used...will the be saved.. or at risk of mis use?
In an Australian first telecommunication companies Vodafone and Telstra have been the first to offer unlimited data mobile packages, following the US. It has been labelled the telecom wars where consumers are set to cash in, however in the past telecom companies have been accused of false advertising for broadband plans by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), leaving the question how much should we trust these companies? The Daily was joined on the line by Dr Katina Michael from Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at University of Wollongong to discuss how this will impact the consumer and the market.
For more information on consumer rights visit: https://accan.org.au
Citation: Katina Michael with Sean Britten, "Telecoms Wars: Unlimited Data Packages", 2SERFM.COM The Daily, https://2ser.com/telcom-wars-unlimited-data-packages/