Labor's push for a 12-month extension of the My Health Record opt-out period was defeated 32-30 but a second amendment for a new deadline of 31 January was later accepted.
Considering the consistent privacy issues that have overhung My Health Record, you may still want to opt out as soon as possible.
MILLIONS of Australians will have My Health Records created for them starting from tomorrow without extra privacy and security protections unless the Senate signs off on the measures today.
Update: 14:55pm: Health Minister Greg Hunt tweeted a confirmation of the extension.
"The opt-out period will be extended until January 31, 2019, however, it's important to note that people can opt-out at any time", Hunt tweeted.
Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King said My Health Record promised huge benefits for people which participated, but they had been jeopardised by the Liberals shifting away from Labor's opt-in model.
The matter was passed on voices rather than a division, with the Greens, and independent crossbench senators Derryn Hinch and Tim Storer siding with Labor to pass the vote.
The Australian Digital Health Agency said in a statement that the issues had been resolved and that the My Health Record helpline and website were "both operational". The medical records of Singapore's Prime Minister and 1.5 million others were hacked recently and earlier this year News Corp revealed there is a health data breach in Australia every two days and no financial penalties were ever applied.
In response to the backlash, Minister Hunt announced in August plans to make changes so the records could not be accessed by police without a court order, and would be permanently deleted if cancelled by a user. It won't be done before the November 15 deadline for opting out. You can call the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) on 1800723471 if you think something is wrong.
"Labor's plan to delay and derail the roll-out of the My Health Record was blocked today", Hunt said, continuing his habit of framing criticism of the My Health Record system as party politics.
"To my knowledge, there is now no public disclosure of the precise security controls and technologies deployed for My Health Record, nor have audits been published or even their summaries", Ralph Holz, an expert in cybersecurity from the University of Sydney, tells The Daily Swig.
It started as an opt-in scheme - the Coalition government changed it to an opt-out.
The government has also proposed the establishment of a Data Governance Board to oversee the secondary use of My Health Record data - that is, uses beyond the health records needs of individuals. There are fines of $126,000 and up to two years' jail time for people who breach the record, and these will soon be increased.
Cyber security expert Nigel Phair, from the University of New South Wales, said the overall My Health Record database was unlikely to be hacked but he predicted data breaches would occur around compliance and governance of the system, including doctors potentially viewing records they shouldn't out of personal interest.
You can do so by visiting the My Health Record website or by calling 1800 723 471.
There are also fears private health insurers may one day be able to access the data.
Victims of domestic violence would also be better protected, with abusive former partners banned from accessing their child's records.
Even when data is de-identified, there's still a chance you could be linked to the record.