Google’s Secret Project Is Collecting Health Data On Millions Of Americans

Google’s not-so-secret Project Nightingale Google launched a secret project last year, dubbed “Project Nightingale,” to gather health data on millions of Americans without their consent. Google partnered with Ascension,...

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Google’s not-so-secret Project Nightingale

Google launched a secret project last year, dubbed “Project Nightingale,” to gather health data on millions of Americans without their consent. Google partnered with Ascension, the second-largest health care group in the U.S., in 2018, MSN.com reports.

Employees at both Google and Ascension have leaked internal documents exposing Project Nightingale, and have raised questions about the ethics and legality of the project.

“The data involved in the initiative encompasses lab results, doctor diagnoses, and hospitalization records, among other categories, and amounts to complete health history, including patient names and dates of birth,” MSN reports. “Neither patients nor doctors have been notified. At least 150 Google employees already have access to much of the data on tens of millions of patients, according to a person familiar with the matter and the documents.”

Experts say Project Nightingale is technically legal under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which allows hospitals to share health data with business partners without patient notification or consent. However, data can only be shared if it helps the hospital improve its health care functions, according to the law. Google and Ascension say the goal of Project Nightingale is to improve health care for patients by using artificial intelligence.

“As the health-care environment continues to rapidly evolve, we must transform to better meet the needs and expectations of those we serve as well as our own caregivers and health-care providers,” said Eduardo Conrado, Ascension’s executive vice president.

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