Legal claim brought to Google and DeepMind for unauthorized use of NHS medical records 

May 20, 2022 – According to a report from Healthcare IT News, Google is facing a class-action lawsuit for the use of confidential medical records belonging to 1.6 million NHS patients without knowledge or consent. In 2015, there was an arrangement formed between Google’s subsidiary DeepMind and the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. 

DeepMind received patient data from the Royal Free for the clinical safety of Streams, a smartphone application developed to detect acute kidney injuries. The ICO, a data privacy organization in the UK, ruled that the Royal Free had not complied with the requirements of the Data Protection Act when it provided the patient data.  

This comes with the rising concern over potential misuse of health data by large tech companies. The report says, “In 2020 the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) ordered Google to conduct “a full assessment of the data protection requirements and privacy implications” of its acquisition of wearables giant Fitbit. The deal was eventually signed off with a series of requirements to be followed for 10 years. DeepMind had previously been at the heart of a class action lawsuit against Google and the University of Chicago Medical Centre, which held accusations of patient privacy violations following a data agreement between the two.” 

Andrew Prismall, the individual bringing the claim against Google, said, “I hope that this case can achieve a fair outcome and closure for the many patients whose confidential records were – without the patients’ knowledge – obtained and used by these large tech companies.” 

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