A lawsuit has begun against artificial intelligence firm DeepMind in the UK. In 2015, Google subsidiary DeepMind gained access to the medical data of 1.6 million patients in the UK healthcare system. Now a law firm has to explain on behalf of the patient how this sensitive data can be used in the future without violating the patient’s rights.
Not affected enough
The claim in the case of the data provided in 2015 is that patients were not adequately informed of the operation. The law firm in operation, Mishcon de Reya, is known as one of the UK’s leading law firms. BBC cited online Andrew Prismal, the attorney general in charge of the case: “The last thing you would expect (as a patient) is for your personal medical records to end up in the hands of one of the largest technology companies in the world.” Commenting on the case, Ben Larson, partner at Mishcon de Reya, said: “This important lawsuit is intended to help resolve fundamental issues related to the processing of sensitive personal data and data of special groups.”
DeepMind Technologies was founded in 2010 by three scientists. In 2014, the American company Google acquired the British start-up; Since then, the AI company has been called “Google DeepMind”. The company’s AI operations continued to grab the headlines: In 2016, DeepMind researcher David Silver introduced AlphaGo, a program that mastered the highly challenging Grandmaster-level board game Go. In late September, DeepMind reported improvements in its short-term rain forecast.
Cooperation in the service of science
As part of a collaboration with the British National Health Service (NHS), DeepMind has been granted access to patient data from three hospitals in London. The goal of the collaboration should be to reduce the costs of medical care through automated analytics and disease prediction earlier than before.
As a first result, DeepMind 2019 provided a method for predicting impending renal failure with the help of artificial intelligence. Acute kidney failure is a common complication in hospitalized patients. DeepMind researchers published in the journal temper nature An automated predictive tool that should detect such issues 48 hours earlier than traditional methods.
Privacy advocates are sounding the alarm
In 2017, DeepMind’s collaboration with the NHS was targeted by the British Information Commission (ICO). The country’s highest data protection authority has complained that the hospitals in question did not provide their patients with sufficient information about how their data was handled in the framework of the cooperation.
At the time, when Britain’s top privacy advocate Elizabeth Denham was accused of not doing enough to protect patient privacy, DeepMind responded by saying the NHS collaboration was focused on developing medical tools and not on patients’ needs, BBC reports online.