Google ditched project to release 100,000 X-ray images, amid privacy concerns

Google nearly published 100,000 X-rays then realized serious privacy issues

Google nearly published 100,000 X-rays then realized serious privacy issues

Two days earlier than Google was set to publicly submit greater than 100,000 photos of human chest X-rays, the tech large acquired a name from the Nationwide Institutes of Well being, which had supplied the pictures: A few of them nonetheless contained particulars that could possibly be used to establish the sufferers, a possible privateness and authorized violation. According to the Post, this information included "the dates the X-rays were taken and distinctive jewelry that patients were wearing when the X-rays were taken".

The project, from 2017, was meant to show off Google's cloud computing and artificial intelligence capabilities.

Google's lawyers were anxious the X-rays might be protected under the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act.

However, the X-rays contained personal information of the patients, and Google only realized it after it was informed of this by the NIH. It said its partnership with Google followed the law.

'Out of an abundance of caution, and in the interest of protecting personal privacy, we elected to not host the NIH dataset'. Google said in a blog post on Monday that the project was a "business arrangement to help a provider with the latest technology, similar to the work we do with dozens of other healthcare providers". The emails about Google's NIH mission had been a part of data obtained from a Freedom of Data Act request. Google said Ascension's data "cannot be used for any other objective than for providing these services we're offering under the agreement, and patient data can not and will not be combined with any Google consumer data".

Google's skill to uphold knowledge privateness is beneath scrutiny because it more and more inserts itself into individuals's medical lives.

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"They use those data to build models of all of us to make better and better predictions about what we need, what we want, what we do", says Dr. Robert Epstein, a Harvard professor who has been tracking Google algorithms.

The news broke just days after Google announced a bid to buy FitBit, the popular fitness tracker, whose devices track a range of biometric data, including heart rate, blood pressure, weight, and the number of steps taken in a day.

But the search giant has been criticized for its handling of patient information in the past. In July, Google, the university and the medical center were hit with a lawsuit after the medical center allegedly shared records with Google without stripping away identifiable information.

Specifically, it found that the X-rays contained personally identifiable information about the people they belonged to and therefore chose to scrap the project.

"There's a massive issue that these public-private partnerships are all done under private contracts, so it's quite hard to get some transparency", said Prof Jane Kaye at the University of Oxford.

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