[H]ardOCP: Google Recieves Criticism for Taking Over Health App

Grant Boone
November 16, 2018

Google looks to be getting a firmer hold on NHS patient data by absorbing its DeepMind Health AI lab - a leading United Kingdom health technology developer. It's being used in several NHS hospitals.

But DeepMind has, in the process, broken a pledge which it made to Britain's National Health Service, with whom it worked, that "data will never be connected to Google accounts or services".

Google is in a legal position to make these moves because, legally speaking, the development of Streams is not based on any NHS intellectual property, such as patient data, but only on DeepMind Health's refinement of the app based on its use within NHS trusts.

Artificial intelligence-focused DeepMind was founded in 2010 and while it remains based in London, it was taken over by Google in 2014.

Alphabet's artificial intelligence arm DeepMind revealed plans on November 13 to bring its health business into Google's newly formed health unit, which will be led by the former CEO of Danville, Pa. -based Geisinger, David Feinberg, MD, CNBC reports.

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'As a research organisation, DeepMind will continue to work on fundamental health research with partners in academia, the NHS and beyond.

DeepMind said in a statement that the processing of NHS patient data would remain "subject to both our contracts and data protection legislation". It also raised questions about the basis under which the London hospital which had been piloting the device had shared its data with Google DeepMind. "The move to Google does not affect this". The main issue was that the app had been gathering data on 1.6 million patients without informing them or seeking prior consent.

Its goal is to solve general intelligence and make machines capable of learning for themselves.

'When we have promising results that could have impact at scale, we'll work closely with the Streams and transnational research teams at Google on how to implement research ideas into clinical settings'. The watchdog did not stop DeepMind from continuing to use or develop Streams.

"The benefits of the Streams app instead come from a very well-designed and user-friendly interface, backed up by solid infrastructure and data management", Linklaters wrote.

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