'Total Incompetence': Outrage As My Health Opt-Out Website Crashes, Phones Jammed
Countless people have been left frustrated and websites and phone lines went into meltdown on Wednesday, as Australians tried to opt out of the My Health Record system.
Wednesday was to be the penultimate day to opt out of the system. A flurry of media attention on the deadline and a Senate debate on the problems remaining in the database led to an influx of Australians attempting to leave the system, which saw phone lines and websites overwhelmed.
Many people reported long waits -- some of over an hour -- on the phone, and the opt out website repeatedly crashing or freezing.
The Australian Digital Health Agency claimed it was "incorrect" that the website was down, saying both the site and the phone lines were "operational".
However, 10 daily confirmed that at the very time the ADHA issued the statement, the opt out link on myhealthrecord.gov.au led users to a page with the message "The server was unable to fulfill the request".
As of time of writing this story, the site was available.
Some compared the tech issues to the infamous problems faced during the 2016 census, while others just voiced their frustrations on social media.
Many people shared screenshots of their phones showing they had been on a call for more than an hour, or shots of websites frozen partway through the opt-out process.
Some said the difficulty in opting out was itself a reason to opt out, saying they didn't trust the infrastructure ensuring the security of their sensitive health data.
The federal Senate voted on Wednesday to extend the November 15 opt out deadline -- itself an extension from the original October period -- to January 31.
It came after a number of Labor and crossbench members voiced concerns about both the unresolved privacy and security issues around the system, and the difficulties faced by users from early in the week in opting out. Even doctors, including the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, called for the period to be extended.
Kerryn Phelps, the new Member for Wentworth and practicing doctor, was among the loudest voices calling for the government to reconsider the rollout of the My Health framework. She applauded the extension of the opt out period.