UK: Commission finds Natl. Health Service trust broke data protection laws in trials with Google DeepMind

Author: Aliya Ram, Financial Times (UK), Published on: 4 July 2017

"Royal Free ‘failed to comply’ with data laws in tie-up with Google", 3 Jul

A National Health Service trust broke data protection laws when it gave Google’s artificial intelligence arm, DeepMind, access to the personal medical records of 1.6m British patients, the UK’s data privacy watchdog has said.  The ruling from the Information Commissioner’s Office on Monday comes as British businesses brace for new privacy regulations stemming from concerns that private citizens are often unknowingly sharing their information with large companies.  The ICO said the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust had “failed to comply” with the UK’s Data Protection Act when it shared patient data with DeepMind for trialling Streams, a phone app to diagnose medical problems.  The watchdog criticised the trust for not warning patients adequately that their data would be used to test Streams…It…concluded that the Royal Free had only assessed…data privacy implications of the…trial after it had sent the…[DeepMind] its patients’ data.  “Our investigation found a number of shortcomings in the way patient records were shared…” said Elizabeth Denham, the UK information commissioner“…the trust could and should have been far more transparent with patients”…she added.  The Royal Free…will not have to pay a fine, but has signed an agreement to change its processes for dealing with data-sharing in future…

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Related companies: Alphabet Google (part of Alphabet)