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A parliamentary committee has been labelled "dangerously naive" after giving its tick of approval to electronic health records for all Australians.

A Senate inquiry has recommended that proposed legislation to reboot Australia's current e-health system and switch it from an opt-in to an opt-out model be passed by the Senate.

It said tough new penalties would address fears around privacy and concerns that sensitive medical details could be accessed or used inappropriately.

The Australian Privacy Foundation's Bernard Robertson-Dunn, who has developed IT systems for several government departments, said it was "patently absurd" to believe that Australian laws could protect against criminals and cyber-terrorists operating overseas.

He's written to senators complaining that the committee has ignored the expert advice provided to it in submissions, most of which raised concerns about the new model.

"This is in spite of being told that it is insecure and a major threat to the privacy of most Australians, has little value to health professionals and has all the appearance of primarily being an aid to law enforcement and revenue collection agencies," the letter says.

Dr Robertson-Dunn told AAP the private medical details of all Australians could potentially be stolen in an Ashley Madison-style hacking scandal, in which a group of hackers released private information of the website's users.

He says even lawful access of the system could pose a "huge invasion of privacy", allowing anyone employed at a medical institution to access a person's entire medical record.

A parliamentary committee on human rights chaired by Liberal MP Philip Ruddock has also raised privacy concerns about the opt-out model.

The Health Department says the same range of strong security and privacy protections in the existing model would carry over to the opt-out setting, along with stronger penalties for any misuse.

Trials of the new system are set to begin in early 2016 in north Queensland and the NSW Blue Mountains region, involving one million Australians.

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Quelle/Source: Daily Mail, 11.11.2015

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