Google and Ascension have been collecting health data of millions of Americans
Alphabet’s Google is teaming up with a healthcare company on a secret project to collect personal health-related information of millions of Americans across 21 states.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Google launched “Project Nightingale” last year with St. Louis-based Ascension, according to the report, citing people familiar with the matter and internal documents.
Dr Robert Epstein, a medical researcher and former editor-in-chief at Psychology Today, tweeted: “You can’t make this s*** up. #BeAfraid.”
Just revealed: #Google is secretly collecting health data on millions of Americans from hospitals nationwide without patients or doctors knowing – WITH patient names – including, maybe, YOURS. You can’t make this sh*t up. #BeAfraid https://t.co/Qho9V9ccVq
— Dr. Robert Epstein (@DrREpstein) November 12, 2019
Google said the partnership was aimed at “improving patient outcomes and saving lives” and is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which controls the privacy of health data.
The data involved in Project Nightingale includes lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalisation records, among other categories, and amounts to a complete health history, complete with patient names and dates of birth, the Journal reported.
Patients were not informed that the data collection was happening and were not given a chance to opt-out.
Originally published as Google collecting health data of millions