Google accused of ‘trust demolition’ over health app


Nurses using Streams app

Lawyer and personal privacy expert Julia Powles, who has actually carefully followed the development of Streams, reacted on Twitter: “DeepMind consistently, unconditionally assured to ‘never ever link individuals’s intimate, recognizable health data to Google’.

It informed the BBC that it expected that all the steps set out in its audit to “remain in place “after DeepMind Health moves to Google.

An independent review panel set up to scrutinise DeepMind’s relationship with the NHS was” unlikely” to continue in its present form, offered the US takeover of the health department, DeepMind verified to the BBC.

One expert described the move as “trust demolition”.

The news that Streams would be joining Google was announced in a DeepMind blogpost.

“Our vision is for Streams to now become an AI-powered assistant for nurses and doctors everywhere – combining the best algorithms with intuitive design, all backed up by rigorous evidence.

“The team working within Google, alongside brilliant colleagues from across the organisation, will help make this vision a reality.”

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It is not only Streams that will be affected. The DeepMind Health division, which now has a partnership with 10 NHS hospitals to process medical data, will also fall under the remit of California-based Google Health.

Lawyer and privacy expert Julia Powles, who has closely followed the development of Streams, responded on Twitter: “DeepMind repeatedly, unconditionally promised to ‘never connect people’s intimate, identifiable health data to Google’.

“Now it’s announced… exactly that. This isn’t transparency, it’s trust demolition,” she added.