Google’s DeepMind Given Access to NHS Data of 1.6 Million Patients

Google’s DeepMind Given Access to NHS Data of 1.6 Million Patients

By Gary Cutlack on 04 May 2016 at 11:05AM

Google’s DeepMind AI supercomputer thing is taking a break from pwning n00bs at boardgames to analyse some serious medical data, with the tech giant gaining access to the medical data of 1.6 million NHS patients.

The last five years of medical records is included in the bulk data handover, along with hospital logs, radiology test results, patient status and much more. A company with the data and location reach of Google — and the most powerful self-learning computers yet developed — really shouldn’t have much trouble triangulating your GPS location data with the timestamps of genitourinary clinic visit reports, making the situation really quite a worry for privacy campaigners.

The Royal Free NHS trust has provided data generated by three London hospitals it operates to DeepMind to help the development of its Streams medical app, with the New Scientist claiming this haul contains information about patients requesting abortions, those suffering drug overdoses, cases of HIV diagnosis and more extremely sensitive stats.

The agreement says DeepMind must keep the data separate from Google — and have it stored by a third-party and destroyed when the agreement with the trust expires in 2017 — but still. Would you be happy to have to details handed over, even if they might help Google’s healthcare algos come up with better treatment for the patients of the future?

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