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“Gawd. This debate is becoming stupendously ridiculous,” tweeted Dr Norman Swan on Friday. He’s the presenter of the ABC’s Health Report and one of Australia’s most respected broadcasters.

“It’s the most important piece of health infrastructure in a generation and it’s been hijacked by the privacy ideologues. Everyone retains the right to choose. Get over it and stay in!! Can’t believe it,” he said.

Swan is right. The debate over whether or not to have your health records uploaded to a central digital repository has indeed become stupendously ridiculous. But not for the reasons he thinks.

Yes, some of those opting out are making daft claims. We’ve seen, for example, the curious argument that because My Health Record might perpetuate incorrect data, and presumably because enforcement agencies can gain access, its “sole purpose” is to be a tool to make Australia into an autocratic police state. Yeah nah.

There were also overblown concerns about Google’s reCAPTCHA being used.

But there are genuine concerns out there. People don’t fear that My Health Record won’t be useful. They’re worried that their medical data might be misused, and they’re not satisfied with the answers they’re getting.

The Australian government has lost the public’s trust when it comes to protecting their data. That trust needs to be earned back.

The name-calling of “privacy ideologues” and the…

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