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.

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media_cameraGoogle CEO Sundar Pichai. Picture: AFP

Dr Robert Epstein, a medical researcher and former editor-in-chief at Psychology Today, tweeted: “You can’t make this s*** up. #BeAfraid.”

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.

Ascension said the partnership is designed to “optimise the health and wellness of individuals and communities”.

Dr Robert Epstein has blasted Google for collecting health info of millions of Americans. Picture: Suppliedpacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Google-and-Ascension-have-been-collecting-health-data-of-millions.webp”/>
media_cameraDr Robert Epstein has blasted Google for collecting health info of millions of Americans. Picture: Supplied

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.

Fitbit smartwatches are displayed at a Best Buy store. Picture: Gettypacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/1573572891_274_Google-and-Ascension-have-been-collecting-health-data-of-millions.jpeg”/>
media_cameraFitbit smartwatches are displayed at a Best Buy store. Picture: Getty

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Patients were not informed that the data collection was happening and were not given a chance to opt-out.

The news follows an earlier announcement from Google that it would buy Fitbit for $2.1 billion, aiming to enter wearables segment and invest in digital health.

Originally published as Google collecting health data of millions





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