Will Google get away with grabbing 50m Americans’ health records?

Googles reputation has remained relatively unscathed despite behaviors similar to Facebooks. This could be the tipping point Few things are certain in the American healthcare system except for the paperwork. The tedious ritual of signing forms authorizing new providers to access our medical history is the result of a rarity for Americans: thanks to the first amendment, we have few rights and little expectation of privacy, except when it comes to our medical records. Even doctors who have our best interests at heart must get permission to access our data under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (Hipaa). So it was truly shocking to learn this week that a business partnership between Google and Ascension, a major hospital chain …

Google’s secret cache of medical data includes names and full details of millions whistleblower

Whistleblower tells Guardian of growing alarm over secret transfer of medical history data, which can be accessed by Google staff A whistleblower who works in Project Nightingale, the secret transfer of the personal medical data of up to 50 million Americans from one of the largest healthcare providers in the US to Google, has expressed anger to the Guardian that patients are being kept in the dark about the massive deal. The anonymous whistleblower has posted a Wall Street Journal, involves the transfer to Google of healthcare data held by Ascension, the second-largest healthcare provider in the US. The data is being transferred with full personal details including name and medical history and can be accessed by Google staff. Unlike …

UKs health data guardian sets a firm line for app development using patient data

The UK’s health data watchdog, the National Data Guardian (NDG), has published correspondence between her office and the national privacy watchdog which informed the ICO’s finding in 2017 that a data-sharing arrangement between an NHS Trust and Google-owned DeepMind broke the law. The exchange was published following a Freedom of Information request by TechCrunch. In fall 2015 the Royal Free NHS Trust and DeepMind signed a data-sharing agreement which saw the medical records of 1.6 million people quietly passed to the AI company without patients being asked for their consent. The scope of the data-sharing arrangement — ostensibly to develop a clinical task management app — was only brought to light by investigative journalism. That then triggered regulatory scrutiny — …

What leading HealthTech VCs are investing in

Why is tech still aiming for the healthcare industry? It seems full of endless regulatory hurdles or stories of misguided founders with no knowledge of the space, running headlong into it, only to fall on their faces. Theranos is a prime example of a founder with zero health background or understanding of the industry — and just look what happened there! The company folded not long after founder Elizabeth Holmes came under criminal investigation and was barred from operating in her own labs for carelessly handling sensitive health data and test results. But sometimes tech figures it out. It took years for 23andMe to breakthrough FDA regulations — it’s since more than tripled its business and moved into drug discovery. …

Researchers spotlight the lie of anonymous data

Researchers from two universities in Europe have published a method they say is able to correctly re-identify 99.98% of individuals in anonymized data sets with just 15 demographic attributes. Their model suggests complex data sets of personal information cannot be protected against re-identification by current methods of “anonymizing” data — such as releasing samples (subsets) of the information. Indeed, the suggestion is that no “anonymized” and released big data set can be considered safe from re-identification — not without strict access controls. “Our results suggest that even heavily sampled anonymized datasets are unlikely to satisfy the modern standards for anonymization set forth by GDPR [Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation] and seriously challenge the technical and legal adequacy of the de-identification …

UK Facebook users now have a tool to report scam ads

Facebook has launched a tool for U.K. users to report ads they suspect of being scams. The feature can be accessed by clicking the three dotsin the top-right corner of each ad on Facebook, then selecting ‘Report ad,’ then ‘Misleading or scam ad’ and finally ‘Send a detailed scam report.’ So if you want to think of it as a reporting “button,” it’s a button that actually requires four presses to function as intended… tool where anyone can report ads — and they are reviewed manually by our Trust & Safety team. With regards to donation, we are looking forward to chatting to Martin and the team to learn more about the initiative at this point.” In another recent change to its ads …