Over 20 Total Lots Up For Auction at One Location - TX Cleansweep 06/25

Google almost exposed personal information for 30,000 patients: report

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | November 19, 2019
Cyber Security Health IT

Overseeing the work was then chief scientist of the tech giant’s cloud computing division Fei-Fei Li. She wanted to use the project to demonstrate how TensorFlow, a Google tool that teaches computers to identify different markings of different diseases in images, could be applied to solve some of the most complex problems in medicine, according to the unnamed source.

Upon finding personal information in dozens of images, the NIH contacted Google on July 19 to warn it. Information included dates of when X-rays were taken and distinctive jewelry patients wore during the exams, according to the emails. Upon consulting its attorneys and emailing the NIH to ask if the data was protected under HIPAA, Google chose not to move forward with the project and deleted all of the X-rays from its server. The 112,000 images were later published in September 2018 after the NIH had scrubbed all traces of personal data from them.

"The data was released to the scientific community to give researchers access and increase their ability to teach computers how to detect and diagnose disease. Ultimately, this artificial intelligence mechanism can lead to clinicians making better diagnostic decisions for patients," Cohen told HCB News, adding that a media advisory with details about the release of the dataset was issued in September 2017. "As noted in the media advisory, the hope is that machine learning tools will be able to process large amounts of scans, and confirm results radiologists have found as well as identify findings that may have been overlooked."

Google is currently facing a number of challenges following a revelation made this month by a whistleblower for the company to collect and store the personal health information — including full names, dates of birth and clinical histories — of millions of patients at Ascension in its cloud technology. Google maintains that both the NIH and Ascension projects are compliant with federal privacy laws, and that the objective with Ascension was to provide better recommendations to physicians, while demonstrating its cloud storage services.

Many, however, have raised concerns over information privacy, as it was not immediately clear if patients consented to have their files transferred from Ascension’s servers, or what Google’s intentions were. The Department of Health and Human Services announced its intention this week to evaluate if Google’s “mass collection of individuals’ health records,” violated HIPAA privacy regulations.

You Must Be Logged In To Post A Comment