Compliance Management, Privacy

NHS sharing unfiltered medical data on 1.6M patients with Google AI company

As part of joint venture to develop groundbreaking healthcare apps, the UK's National Health Service (NHS) has contractually agreed to share new and historical healthcare data on 1.6 million patients with Google's artificial intelligence company DeepMind.

In an exclusive report, New Scientist uncovered the terms of the agreement, which presents a myriad of privacy concerns, including whether patients can fully opt out. Essentially, DeepMind will gain comprehensive access to the medical data of patients who visit three London hospitals run by the Royal Free NHS Trust—Barnet General, Chase Farm and Royal Free. The data may reveal drug abuse history, abortions, HIV-positive diagnoses and other sensitive information.

DeepMind originally announced in February that it was partnering with NHS to create an app called Streams that monitors kidney function. It also is implementing an early stage clinical task management app called Hark, designed to help medical experts with their organization and thus provide more efficient care.

According to the agreement, a third party is responsible for storing DeepMind's copies of the patient data, which must be deleted when the agreement expires in Sept. 2017.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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