Google has gained access to a huge trove of US patient data - without the need to notify those patients - thanks to a deal with a major health firm. The scheme, dubbed Project Nightingale, was agreed with Ascension, which hopes to develop artificial intelligence tools for doctors. Google can access health records, names and addresses without telling patients, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news. Google said it was "standard practice". Among the data the tech giant reportedly has access to under the deal are lab results, diagnoses, records of hospitalisation and dates of birth.
Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal accused Google of stealthily collecting sensitive patient data from millions of Americans without their consent. The New York Times soon followed with its own report, offering more detail on "Project Nightingale" and noting how it was likely to rile up privacy advocates. Forbes then published its own story, followed by another article from Business Insider, each drip-feeding more details about this initiative. When, you might ask, will it all end? The problem is not the reporting; it's that Google's own ambitions in health care have no clear limits, which is something that Project Nightingale illustrates.
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Google's announcement of a partnership with a major healthcare provider raises fresh privacy concerns as the tech company expands its footprint into the healthcare industry. Monday's announcement comes after the Wall Street Journal revealed Google had won access to health-related information of millions of Americans across 21 states through the partnership with Ascension – the second-largest healthcare system in the US. The Journal reported that the data involved in the project includes lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records, among other categories, and amounts to a complete health history, including patient names and dates of birth. The collaboration, code-named "Project Nightingale", began in secret last year, according to the Journal. Google's parent company, Alphabet, on Monday officially signed Ascension, its biggest cloud computing customer in healthcare yet.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google has signed its biggest cloud computing customer in healthcare to date, in a deal giving it access to datasets that could help it tune potentially lucrative artificial intelligence (AI) tools. Google and Ascension, which operates 150 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities across the United States, said the healthcare provider would move some data and analytics tools in its facilities to Google's servers. The deal was mentioned in Google's July earnings call, but drew scrutiny on Monday after the Wall Street Journal reported on.wsj.com/2q3WCer that Google would gain personal health-related information of millions of Americans across 21 states. The Journal reported that the data involved in the project includes lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records, among other categories, and amounts to a complete health history, along with patient names and dates of birth. Google said in a blog post on Monday that patient data "cannot and will not be combined with any Google consumer data."