Google will take over part of DeepMind’s health business

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Save Save The deal raised fears about NHS patients' data Credit

"The team working within Google, alongside brilliant colleagues from across the organisation, will help make this vision a reality".

But the transfer and vision for Streams looks hard to reconcile with DeepMind's previous comments about the app.

With the formation of Google's holding company parent Alphabet in 2015, the firm was technically classed as a sister company to Google, with both being subsidiaries of Alphabet.

Now that Streams is a Google product itself, that promise appears to have been broken, says privacy researcher Julia Powles: "Making this about semantics is a sleight of hand".

"The arrival of world-leading health expert Dr. David Feinberg at Google will accelerate these efforts, helping to make a difference to the lives of millions of patients around the world".

The move may cause some consternation.

DeepMind also began research into healthcare in 2015, and an initial deal with the NHS to develop Streams was later ruled by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to have used the medical data of 1.6 patients illegally, since the patients involved were not informed. DeepMind said it would never connect Streams with Google.

The company, which gave us the Go-champion beating AlphaGo, has been in trouble before over patient privacy during tests of its Streams system to monitor patients remotely and alert doctors to issues before they arise.

Privacy advocates are going to be spitting feathers over the decision which could also see the abolition of the oversight board set up by DeepMind to ensure best practice is followed. DeepMind's goal is to make Streams into an AI assistant for clinicians, a project at least 10 hospitals in the United Kingdom have signed up for. "Information governance and safety remain our top priorities", the founders wrote.

DeepMind said in a statement that the processing of NHS patient data would remain "subject to both our contracts and data protection legislation".

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