Google and health care provider organization Ascension have publicly confirmed a recent report that the two companies have embarked on a massive initiative to aggregate the data of roughly 50 million patients and store it on the cloud.

The companies say it will improve patient care and administration, but the strategy has also sparked concern among certain consumer advocates, cybersecurity experts and reportedly some Ascension employees -- especially because neither patients nor doctors had been previously been notified of this data-sharing arrangement.

Dubbed Project Nightingale, the partnership allows Google to collect troves of sensitive information from Ascension’s roughly 2,600 hospitals, doctors’ offices and care facilities, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday (with a follow-up article today). Shared data included personally identifying information, as well as lab results, diagnoses and hospitalization records. Reportedly, over 150 Google employees have access to this data, including members of the Google Brain deep learning artificial intelligence research team.

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