The tech giant Google has collected without permission medical data from tens of millions of Americans, the newspaper reported exclusively on Monday The Wall Street Journal, which cited internal documents and sources with knowledge of the matter.
Data collection is part of a Google initiative named 'Project Nightingale' (Project Nightingale, in Spanish) and, through which, Google accesses the information of patients of the medical company Ascension, the largest Catholic firm of that type and that is based in San Luis (Missouri).
The agreement was secretly signed last year, although the exchange of data between Google and Ascension accelerated this summer, according to the internal documents to which it has accessed The Wall Street Jornal.
Through that pact, Google allegedly has access to the personal data of tens of millions of Americans residing in 21 of the 50 states of the United States.
Among the data collected by Google, are medical diagnoses, laboratory test results and hospitalization records, among other reports, which is equivalent to a complete medical history, which includes the names of the patients and the dates of birth, detailed the New York newspaper.
Data collected by Google includes medical diagnoses, laboratory test results and hospitalization records.
Neither patients nor doctors were notified of the data exchange between Google and Ascension, according to The Wall Street Journal, which assured that at least 150 employees of the technology company have already had access to data from hundreds of millions of patients.
According to the newspaper, the contract between Google and Ascension is part of Silicon Valley's growing appetite for data analysis in the medical industry, a business path that Amazon and Microsoft are also exploring, although those companies have not yet achieved a Google's reach agreement.
In this case, Google is supposedly using the data, in part, to design a new software, which backed by artificial intelligence and machine learning systems, may suggest changes in the treatment of patients.
Google defends itself
In a statement, sent to The Wall Street Journal, Google defended that its project complies with federal laws on protection of medical data.
The goal of the company is "ultimately, improve results, reduce costs and save lives, "said Google Cloud President Tariq Shaukat in the press release.
Google and other technology companies have been subject during the last days of harsh criticism and research by the regulators precisely because of the large volume of data of the users they manage and their privacy management, so this new project could lead to new scrutiny.