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Google is facing legal action over using 1.6 million people NHS data “without their knowledge or consent”.
The internet giant is being sued after unlawfully using data given to the corporation’s artificial intelligence arm Deep Mind in 2015 from the Royal Free NHS Trust to use in testing a smartphone app, Streams.
The case is being brought against Google by Andrew Primsall in a High Court representative action and claims that Google and Deep Mind “obtained and used a substantial number of confidential medical records without patients’ knowledge or consent,” according to Sky News.
In a statement, the claimant 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.”
His lawyer Ben Lasserson, a partner at the firm Mishcon de Reya believes the suit is “particularly important”.
He said: “It should provide some much-needed clarity as to the proper parameters in which technology companies can be allowed to access and make use of private health information.”
The data – which included people who had merely been to A E in the last five years – was used to test the app, which seeks to monitor acute kidney injuries and was given on a discount.
This come after Sky News reported that the NHS trust – who is not involved in this legal matter – shared patient data on a “inappropriate legal basis,” based from a leaked letter written by the top data protection officer in the nationalised health care provider, which was found to be illegal.
In 2021, the Supreme Court stopped a similar claim from proceeding against Google – which alleged that they secretly monitored more than a million iPhone users – due to lack of evidence that anyone “suffered any material damage or distress”.