According to New Scientist, Google has access to 1.6 million United Kingdom, National Health Service (NHS) records.
Documents obtained by New Scientist shows that “The tech giant’s collaboration with the UK’s National Health Service goes far beyond what had been p announced.”
Google and the NHS had teamed up in September of last year to use Googles artificial intelligence company Deepmind (also referred to as Skynet; sarcasm), to build an app called Streams. This app would assist hospital staff in monitoring patients with kidney disease.
The kicker is that Deepmind, according to New Scientist, “is getting access to historical medical records.” Sam Smith, who heads up a health privacy group called MedConfidential, had this to say, “This is not just about kidney function. They are getting the full data.”
Google is defending itself by saying that there’s no separate database for just people with kidney conditions, for Stream to work properly, it requires access to all the information.
Here are some of the ‘personal identification information data’ currently being collected as part of the ‘Information Sharing Agreement’ between NHS and Google:
- name (including initials)
- NHS number
- photographs or videos
- postal code or zip code for my American friends
- date of birth
- telephone number
- email address
- moreover, of course, their personal medical evaluations and tests
Google does state on their website that they recognize that words alone (like “trust me”) are not enough. So they are working with an unpaid review panel consisting of:
Mike Bracken, CDO, The Co-operative Group, ex-CDO UK-Gov
Martin Bromiley, Chair, Clinical Human Factors Group & patient safety advocate
Elisabeth Buggins, Chair, Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust
Eileen Burbidge, Chair, Tech City UK & Partner, Passion Capital
Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet
Julian Huppert, ex-MP, Cambridge CCG Audit Chair
Professor Donal O’Donaghue, National Clinical Director Kidney Care DoH 2007-13
Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive, RSA
Professor Sir John Tooke, Professor of Medicine, UCL
The panel meets four times a year, and as Google puts it, “scrutinise our work with the NHS.” The group then presents an annual report to the public outlining their findings.
Read a more in-depth review of this investigation by Hal Hodson on New Scientist website.
Oh, Google. Your just a treasure trove of information, aren’t you.; you sneaky buggers.