[LINK] My letter to the local paper

Jim Birch planetjim at gmail.com
Tue Jul 24 11:12:54 AEST 2018

 "To avoid that risk, you might consider pointing out errors and
untruths specifically
and explicitly."

Sure: what are the specific actual harms that have occurred in Australia by
the government knowing too much?  Be specific.  Name a few.  (I won't count
getting done for tax dodging and crime.  Other than that, I have trouble
coming up with anything)

Build an equivalent list of harms caused by the government now knowing
enough, and I think you will find the not-knowing list absolutely swamps
the knowing list.

The harm from the government knowing things like your health record is as
far I can see primarily a ideological harm.  Or, to put it more concretely
a "harm" against a emotionally powerful mythology.  The problem is that
anyone can make up scary stories.  I'm strongly in favor of evidence.
That's my ideology, if you like.  Gather facts, not narratives.  Do the

In fact, medicine is replete with examples of information failure.  The
government is right now, subsidising operations, tests, and treatments that
have no good evidence base.  And this is not harm-free: there is a waiting
list for operations with a powerful quality-of-life evidence base like hip
replacements.  I don't have a problem with taxation, I actually want to
live in a high taxation country, but I do want to see taxes used in a
reality-based way.  The forerunner to MyHR in Australia was a system of
centralised shared records set up to to improve aboriginal health in
northern Australia.  Check it out, it is regarded as massively useful.
Sure, linkers are a different demographic - educated, middle-class,
economically successful who generally do better at self-managing health -
but we aren't Australia.

Getting good medical data to validate treatments is hard and expensive.
Countries with good centralised health - eg Scandinavia - produce a steady
stream of useful research that moves medical science and practice along.
There is no reason Australia should not be contributing to global
well-being in this way.  (As I see it, certainly not on the basis of
fluffy, emotionally-reactive libertarian philosophies.)


On Mon, 23 Jul 2018 at 17:24, Karl Auer <kauer at biplane.com.au> wrote:

> On Mon, 2018-07-23 at 14:20 +1000, Jim Birch wrote:
> > Fake news (i.e. stories that are designed to get the juices flowing)
> > travel faster and further.  Reality comes a long second.
> Hm. Not sure if you are accusing me and/or David of generating "fake
> news" or not.
> Truisms positioned to cast deniable doubt on a nearby statement[1] are
> one stock in trade of those who really DO attack the truth. By using
> such a device, you risk being considered such a person.
> To avoid that risk, you might consider pointing out errors and untruths
> specifically and explicitly.
> Regards, K.
> [1] Happy to explain this device further if needed. I've left the
> "juxtaposed statement", i.e. the quote you were apparently responding
> to, below, so people can see what I mean. A worked example of something
> very similar can be found here: http://biplane.com.au/blog/?p=282
> > On Mon, 23 Jul 2018 at 13:54, David <dlochrin at key.net.au> wrot
> > >
> > > On Sunday, 22 July 2018 17:22:53 AEST Karl Auer wrote:
> > >
> > > >
> > > > You cannot control who uploads things into your record. You have
> > > > no
> > > right to check what is uploaded into your record. You cannot
> > > control who
> > > sees your record. You cannot find out who has accessed your record,
> > > nor
> > > what they do with it. You cannot correct or remove documents from
> > > your
> > > record.
> > >
> > > I thought it was possible for an individual to at least display
> > > their
> > > record, I assume all of it (?), and to be notified when it was
> > > accessed.
> > > However whether this would be honoured for all time, even if true,
> > > is not
> > > guaranteed.
> > >
> > > I think it would be worth repeating the URL of the opt-out page
> > > too.
> > >
> > > DavidL.
> --
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Karl Auer (kauer at biplane.com.au)
> http://www.biplane.com.au/kauer
> http://twitter.com/kauer389
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