Documents detail DeepMind’s plan to apply AI to NHS data in 2015

Sep 1, 2017 ·

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More details have emerged about a controversial 2015 patient data-sharing arrangement between Google DeepMind and a UK National Health Service Trust which paint a contrasting picture vs the pair’s public narrative about their intended use of 1.6 million citizens’ medical records.

DeepMind and the Royal Free NHS Trust signed their initial information sharing agreement (ISA) in September 2015 — ostensibly to co-develop a clinical task management app, called Streams, for early detection of an acute kidney condition using an NHS algorithm.

Patients whose fully identifiable medical records were being shared with the Google-owned company were neither asked for their consent nor informed their data was being handed to the commercial entity.

Indeed, the arrangement was only announced to the public five months after it was inked — and months after patient data had already started to flow.

And it was only fleshed out in any real detail after a New Scientist journalist obtained and published the ISA between the pair, in April 2016 — revealing for the first time, via a Freedom of Information request, quite how much medical data was being shared for an app that targets a single condition.

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