Google DeepMind, NHS partnership faces scrutiny

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A data-sharing agreement between Mountain View, Calif.-based Google's AI company DeepMind and the United Kingdom's National Health Service is creating controversy in the UK, reports Tech Crunch.

Through the agreement, DeepMind has access to the healthcare information of approximately 1.6 million NHS patients until 2017. The agreement states that Google can't use the information in any other part of its business and must delete all data upon expiration of the agreement.

The UK's National Data Guardian, Dame Fiona Caldicott, wonders whether Google will keep citizens' healthcare data safe. As National Data Guardian, Dame Caldicott's job is to ensure that the public can trust its confidential health information is secure.

"Dame Fiona and her independent advisory panel have asked for and received information about the project, which is currently being considered to assess whether any guidance or advice from the National Data Guardian would be of assistance to this or similar projects," an NDG spokesperson said, according to Tech Crunch.

The UK's Information Commissioner's Officer is also probing the DeepMind-NHS partnership.

"We are in contact with the National Data Guardian about this matter and we continue to make enquiries of the Royal Free in relation to the data shared with Google DeepMind. Any organization processing or using people's sensitive personal information must do so in accordance with the Data Protection Act," an ICO spokesperson said, according to the report.

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