Privacy concerns raised as Google absorbs DeepMind's health tech unit

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"It has been a phenomenal journey to see Streams go from initial idea to live deployment, and to hear how it's helped change the lives of patients and the nurses and doctors who treat them". The main privacy control, Google says, is that the data remains will the health practitioner and it is not shared with third parties.

The above can also be seen as a greater priority being accorded to Google Health that has only recently come into being and can be seen as an amalgamation of all the health-related projects now underway within Alphabet.

Some background: Google acquired London-based artificial intelligence startup DeepMind in 2014 for $500 million.

The blog states that DeepMind will continue "to work on fundamental health research with partners in academia, the NHS and beyond".

Google has said that the DeepMind Health brand, which uses National health Service patient data, will no longer exist and the Streams workforce will join Google Health.

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As a result, an independent review panel was set up to oversee DeepMind's relationship with the NHS, but this will now be scrapped, at least in its current form, DeepMind confirmed.

A DeepMind spokesperson emphasised that the core of the promise remains intact: "All patient data remains under our partners' strict control, and all decisions about its use lie with them".

DeepMind's health group employs more than 100 people, who will continue to work in its London offices and report to DeepMind health subsidiary's clinical lead Dr. Dominic King, according to CNBC. It's being used in several NHS hospitals.

DeepMind has also been criticised by health watchdogs in the past. But privacy campaigners worry that DeepMind's ultimate parent firm Google, whose core business model relies on data, may try and suck up patient information to benefit its bottom line.

At the time, DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman said that patient data would never be "linked or associated with Google accounts, products or services". The whole Streams app is now a Google product.

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