Gordon Legal has initiated an investigation for a potential class action lawsuit against the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), in light of a significant breach of privacy. This move comes after the DVA disclosed sensitive medical and personal information of up to 300,000 veterans and their family members to the University of South Australia over a span of two decades through the Medicines Advice and Therapeutics Education Services Program (MATES Program), which has since been shut down.
The disclosed data encompasses a wide range of sensitive information, including medical histories, mental health diagnoses, details on pregnancy terminations, sexual health information, surgery records, and issues related to alcohol and drug addiction, along with identifying details such as names, addresses, and dates of birth.
Peter Gordon, a spokesperson for Gordon Legal, expressed deep concern over the breach, stating, "This disclosure represents a grave violation of trust and confidentiality that our veterans and their families should never experience. It's imperative that we hold DVA accountable for this breach to ensure such a flagrant disregard for privacy rights is never repeated."
The investigation follows revelations about the MATES Program's practices and aims to address the lack of consent obtained before sharing personal data, questioning DVA's handling of such sensitive information.
This class action investigation underscores the need for stringent data protection measures and accountability, especially concerning those who have served their country.