DNA and health data

Stephen Andrew statement on sale of DNA and health data

All of Queenslanders’ highly sensitive Police and Health data, going back 18 years, was recently ‘sold off’ to a mysterious private company called BDNA Group Pty Ltd, by the Qld Government. The database, known as the ‘Forensic Case Management System’, was created by the Queensland Police (QPS) in 2003. It contains hundreds of thousands of DNA samples, fingerprints and images painstakingly collected and stored across two decades of Police investigations in Queensland. The system also integrates data from QPrime, the National Automated Fingerprint Identification system as well as Australia’s ‘Kinship and Familial Data’ register, comprising DNA samples from “consenting biological relatives” of murder victims, missing persons and others.
The database also includes the health, forensic, chemical and biological specimen data collected by Queensland Health’s Forensic and Scientific Services Division, going back years!
Clearly such a treasure-trove of priceless personal data proved too tempting for our cash-strapped Government, and they ‘sold it off’ to the private sector on 16 July 2021. It was sold to a highly mysterious private “Brisbane-based” company, which seems to have just appeared out of nowhere in 2019. Its two founders, Martin Wauchope and Ryan Sheppard have little online presence but interestingly, their company bears the same name as a highly successful US Silicon Valley Tech company, BDNA Pty Ltd.
The BDNA Pty Ltd in California, which was described as an information database management company, was taken over by the US Tech Giant, FLEXERA, in 2017. Flexera boasts strategic partnerships with some of the biggest global tech and defence companies in the world, including Amazon, DXC Technology (also based in Brisbane), NTT Data, Apptio, Microsoft, and Google – to name a few.
I found the other link to Flexera on an online bio for ‘Marty Wauchope’, one of BDNA’s two founders. The Bio states that Marty is “a Partner at BDNA based in Brisbane, Queensland”. “Previously”, the Bio goes on, “Marty was a Partner at FLEXERA and also held positions in the Queensland Government.” That was as far as I got but I am sure there is a lot more to dig up for those who have the time.
The QCCL was awake to what was going on, and released a statement (which no media outlet picked up) saying the privatisation of Queensland citizens’ “personal, sensitive and health information” was “gravely concerning”. The VP of QCCL, Angus Murray, said the sale must be ‘deeply scrutinised’ for its “impact upon individual liberties” and asked the Qld Government to provide more “transparency around its future use”, and ensure Queenslanders’ “personal information is properly protected”.
Cue the sound of ‘crickets chirping’, while he waits.
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