Report on Monday revealed that Google has been amassing healthcare data
Names, dates of birth, and hospital records of millions of patients were collected
Tech company says it wants to help improve outcomes and ultimately save lives
But lawyers, doctors and tech experts have reacted with a mix of horror and fury
Lawyers, medical professionals and tech experts have reacted with a mixture of horror and fury after it emerged that Google has been secretly acquiring sensitive medical data on millions of people without their knowledge or consent.
Questions were immediately raised around the ethics of the data-gathering operation – code-named Project Nightingale – as well as the security of patient data after the program was first reported on Monday.
Others called for an immediate change to privacy laws after Google and Ascension, the healthcare organization it has partnered with, boasted that the scheme is completely legal.
Dr. Robert Epstein, an author, medical researcher and former editor-in-chief at Psychology Today, summed up the mood when he tweeted: ‘You can’t make this s*** up. #BeAfraid.’
Dr Epstein was one of a host of figures to speak out after it was revealed Google has been gathering patient data from Ascension, America’s second-largest health system, since last summer.
The data includes names, dates of birth, lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records on ‘tens of millions of patients’, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first exposed the story.
Neither doctors nor patients were informed that the data-gathering was taking place or given the chance to opt-out.