UK watchdog "close" to verdict in DeepMind Health data consent probe

Mar 17, 2017 · techcrunch.com

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The UK’s data protection watchdog has said it’s "close" to concluding a 10-month+ investigation into consent complaints pertaining to a patient data-sharing agreement inked between Google-owned DeepMind and the Royal Free NHS Trust which operates three hospitals in London.

The ICO began its probe in May last year — after details emerged, via a FOI request made by New Scientist, of the large quantity and scope of patient identifiable data being shared with DeepMind by the Trust. The arrangement, inked in fall 2015, had been publicly announced in February 2016 but details of which and how much patient data was involved in the arrangement were not shared.

Contacted for an update on the investigation today, an ICO spokesperson told TechCrunch: "Our investigation into the sharing of patient information between the Royal Free NHS Trust and Deep Mind is close to conclusion."

Under the DeepMind-Royal Free arrangement, the Google-owned AI company agreed to build an app wrapper for an NHS algorithm designed to alert to the risk of a person developing acute kidney injury.

Patient data for the Streams app was obtained without patient consent, with DeepMind and the Trust arguing it is unnecessary as the app is used for ‘direct patient care’ — a position that has been challenged by critics, and is being reviewed by regulators.

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