Many People Worried About Patient Data Being Misused by DeepMind

The number of people voicing their serious concerns about Google’s DeepMind App continues to grow as the ICO and NDG investigate.

There are some concerns being voiced over the deal between the UK National Health Service and Google’s DeepMind project that became public knowledge back in February 2016, for with around one million patient records having been shared with Google to help them develop their DeepMind App, many people are concerned about that information being used for the wrong reasons.

It is common knowledge that Google makes a huge profit on targeted marketing and advertisements that their customers who include users of their email and other web tools have forced upon them, and the way in which the deal between the NHS and Google was signed without public consultation is of concern to many people.

Two people who have publically voiced their concern are Hal Hodson a renowned author and Julia Powles a respected Cambridge University academic. Both have compiled a report in which they voice some major concerns that do warrant answers from those responsible for the deal. The major worries and criticisms expressed in that report include whether the GoogleMind app is merely a data mining expedition and more disturbingly going to be used as an advertising tool, rather than the way it was sold to the general public once they became aware of the deal, as a way for those at risk of acute kidney injury (AKI) to be spotted and highlighted via the app and Doctors alerted to the fact those patients are high risk.

What has also seriously worried both Hudson and Powles is that there appears to have been no legal contract signed between Google and the NHS in regards to how the data would or could be used other than as an AKI spotting tool/app.

One final concerned raised was whether the device was registered correctly and fully with the relevant regulators, which if not could cause a legal minefield for both companies if the data supplied does get used for anything other than is supposed intended purpose.

Google’s DeepMind have however pointed out that the NHS has over 1500 contracts and agreements with other third party companies in regards to supplying patient data for various uses, but that figure was quickly described as inaccurate by the National Health Service, which caused even more concern with the authors of the report. Currently the matter is now in the hands of the Information Commissioners Office who are investigating whether anything illegal has occurred or whether there is the potential for the app to be comprised or used for any other reason, also the National Data Guardian who are tasked solely with protecting all health related data are investing the above concerns too.