Latest in Tomorrow

Image credit: Sergey Tinyakov via Getty Images

UK's NHS will anonymize data to enable AI doctors

It's using an automated process strip identifying info from your records.
344 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Sergey Tinyakov via Getty Images

If you were miffed about Britain's National Health Service (NHS) giving your sensitive data away to Google's DeepMind, how you respond to today's news is probably a crapshoot. The NHS has announced that it will begin anonymizing said data that's been used to analyze blood test results and to detect risk of acute kidney injuries and other ailments. To be clear, these are separate events (the data use and today's announcement), but one led to the other. In 2016, the NHS and DeepMind caught their fair share of criticism over how data was shared with implied -- not explicit -- consent from 1.6 million patients.

"The new de-identification process (known as De-ID) will protect patient privacy by de-identifying a person's records in a consistent way," according to a statement from the NHS. "This will mean that when the right legal basis, controls and safeguards are in place, data can be linked across different care settings and geographic boundaries."

Now the NHS is partnering with Privitar on the De-ID work, a firm apparently so concerned with privacy, it put half the word in its name. NHS data director Tom Denwood said his organization already anonymizes data, but De-ID is different than previous methods because it follows a standardized way of doing so, with "one, consistent" method. At its simplest, the data is anonymized in bulk, automatically, "across all data collections."

Last year, the debate over the way DeepMind and the NHS used data hit a fever pitch. The UK's data watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), ruled that an NHS Trust broke the law by sharing sensitive patient records with Google's DeepMind division. Doing so violated the Data Protection Act 1998 because patients weren't informed that their data was being used.

There was also another violation concerning the amount of records that DeepMind had access to. The ICO ruled that 1.6 million sets of patient data weren't "necessary and proportionate" to test the NHS' Streams mobile app.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
344 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

View
 T-Mobile will give Apple Card owners higher in-store cashback

T-Mobile will give Apple Card owners higher in-store cashback

View
Roku's latest Ultra player is faster and has better shortcuts

Roku's latest Ultra player is faster and has better shortcuts

View
Impossible Burger makes its grocery store debut in Southern California

Impossible Burger makes its grocery store debut in Southern California

View
Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro has a 'quad-camera' and a vegan leather option

Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro has a 'quad-camera' and a vegan leather option

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr