A new report by WSJ throws light on a partnership going between Google and the health systems company Ascension, working together on Project Nightingale.
By doing so, Google wants to boost its healthcare services by developing an AI-powered software that will help patients. But the report alleges that the data supplied by Ascension is sourced from the health records of millions of Americans spread across 21 states. It includes various information like birth dates, patient names, diagnoses, lab results, etc.
The report suggests that all of the data was given without informing the concerned patients or doctors. However, technically, the companies did nothing wrong as there is a legal aid under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that allows them to do so.
Also, the said partnership is not hidden in the dark, and some details on how exactly things would work out are mentioned in a press release.
However, the data being shared without knowledge brings ethical concerns into the picture. People going to hospitals and getting their treatment done wouldn’t expect that their private data would end up somewhere else.
Furthermore, questions are being raised on the secure handling of data. As per the report, around 150 Google employees have access to the sourced health data.
It’s mostly because there have been a bunch of instances in the past where Google either didn’t care to informs users after their Google+ data was exposed or went on to defend itself when a contractor leaked the recordings of Google Assistant.