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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Google builds health database

Google is doing for health what Facebook did for privacy:
Lawyers, medical professionals and tech experts have reacted with a mixture of horror and fury after it emerged that Google has been secretly acquiring sensitive medical data on millions of people without their knowledge or consent.

Questions were immediately raised around the ethics of the data-gathering operation - code-named Project Nightingale - as well as the security of patient data after the program was first reported on Monday.

Others called for an immediate change to privacy laws after Google and Ascension, the healthcare organization it has partnered with, boasted that the scheme is completely legal....

The data includes names, dates of birth, lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records on 'tens of millions of patients', according to the Wall Street Journal, which first exposed the story. Neither doctors nor patients were informed that the data-gathering was taking place or given the chance to opt-out.
This promises to going to go so amazingly and absurdly wrong that it won't surprise me if there are calls for the US government to declare war on Google and nuke its offices before it's too late. Remember, good people don't have to remind themselves "don't be evil".

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66 Comments:

Blogger Pierre November 12, 2019 6:08 PM  

Does its health database say Google is cancer?

Blogger [Redacted] November 12, 2019 6:12 PM  

Have they taken steps to buy cemeteries yet? The real horror show begins when they start plundering them for gene samples. Genetic testing is getting cheaper and cheaper, and a sweet spot is approaching where cemeteries will be rebranded as archives.

Blogger YehudaL November 12, 2019 6:13 PM  

I recall reading something in Sapiens or another of Harari's doorstoppers about how Google gathering health info is the brightest bravest newest world there is, on the road to creating NewImprovedMan. Even as a HS kid that seemed nefarious to me.
Don't think it was predictive programming though, that requires more horsepower than that auther has. VD made a good takedown of the book from other angles, worth searching the archives

Blogger Newscaper312 November 12, 2019 6:14 PM  

I used to work for a company whose clearinghouse processes either a half or one third of all US medical claim (many to many problem between providers and insurers). The claims data includes diagnosis codes as well as procedure codes for services so the insurers or Medicare can decide if procedure was
reasonable and should be covered. It has always been a short step to use all that accumulated data to do analytics for each provider hospital as a value added service (in our case focusing on the financial aspects). It is yet another short step to try to do industry-wide or national populational data mining. The full clinical data on the hospital side, as Ascension is probably sharing, is even more useful in a medical/public research context. IF it is aggregated, de-identified properly, etc.
Of course the devil is in the details, and who in hell trusts Google these days?

Blogger lowercaseb November 12, 2019 6:16 PM  

[Redacted] wrote:Have they taken steps to buy cemeteries yet?'

We'll know when Google opens an office in Colma, CA. Not too far from their corporate office.

Blogger Uindo November 12, 2019 6:17 PM  

I don't think the Global Justice Initiative, the fictional bad guys in the superhero story for Alt Hero, were as bold as Google is. Lex Luthor hasn't been. You'd have to pull up to Sauron's league and above.

Blogger Randomatos November 12, 2019 6:19 PM  

"But it's ok for a corporation to have their digital hand so far up my medical life that they know my proctology results before my doctor does. Charlie Kirk told me so." - Every boomercon in the extended Random lineage.

Blogger Brick Hardslab November 12, 2019 6:20 PM  

So, don't be evil? I don't even know what to say anymore. If I read they were buying up all the anti-aging research to make sure humans died off I wouldn't be surprised.

Blogger Zaklog the Great November 12, 2019 6:22 PM  

@2 Huh? Perhaps I’m hopelessly out of date. I’d been under the impression that DNA, if not deliberately preserved, did not remain in good shape for testing long after death.

Anyone with any actual knowledge on the subject here? Without deliberate preservation, what’s the expiration date on post-mortem DNA testing?

Blogger Newscaper312 November 12, 2019 6:24 PM  

Somewhat related note -- had a brilliant friend, younger guy there who has moved on on, who was originally hardcore a stats guy turned analytics programmer. At a previous job he did a lot of actuarial work doing data mining of workmans comp claims so they could develop a predictive model that the WC insurer could use to do custom analysis for their business customers to help reduce claims.
The machine learning model he developed proved to be fantastic at predicting outcomes... so much so that the whole project ended up getting scrapped. Why? Because in terms of the advice that it implicitly suggested be adopted was mostly along the lines of most effective means of reducing WC claims -- real or bogus, was in simply NOT hiring women or certain ethnic groups in the first place. More than improved training, equipment, etc.

That data driven guidance - which aligned perfectly with common sense -- was simply too radioactive in this day and age, getting everyone sued into oblivion for disparate impact discrimination.

Anonymous Anonymous November 12, 2019 6:25 PM  

I use to work in IT in a medical lab. I'm nearly certain this is illegal as hell. I have to sign HIPAA forms every time I go to a doctor, then once a year after. Far as I know, there's nothing on them about 4th parties, which is what google would be here. Love to know how they explain getting around that.

Blogger Frostbite.Phoenix November 12, 2019 6:26 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger J Van Stry November 12, 2019 6:28 PM  

Nothing will happen. It never does. I doubt this will even make the news.

Blogger Fuzzums Wuzzums November 12, 2019 6:30 PM  

Data mining is the true economy of the internet. Everyone does it, including 4chan and 8chan. No matter how innocuous the information might seem, at some point someone somewhere will figure out a use for it and they will pay a hefty shekel for it.

I predict that at some point they'll insert AI as a selling point. Because AI is neutral and not conscious it can collect and analyze personal data without breaking the person's privacy. Only when someone commits a crime will the AI send the info down the line to an actual human. Welcome to i1984.

Blogger #7139 November 12, 2019 6:31 PM  

for the US government to declare war on Google and nuke its offices before it's too late.

Oh how I wish it were so. I love the sweet smell of fallout in the morning.

Blogger spinoza November 12, 2019 6:39 PM  

Cooperation with google at the federal level forces compliance of local and state government, most of the later are given their data access by contracts written by the former. The federal government should be absolved and restricted to operating what is left of its empire from the UN headquarters and the states should govern themselves, held accountable to the citizens in the absence of usurping third party contracts.

Blogger bodenlose Schweinerei November 12, 2019 6:41 PM  

I blame Pope Francine: "Ascension is the largest Catholic health system in the world"

Blogger Jim the Curmudgeon November 12, 2019 6:49 PM  

Looks like another Project Dragonfly. I scanned the docs quickly and a few things jumped out.

First, a couple of docs state that certain tasks are not HIPAA compliant. I suspect lawyers will have a field day with those, if any data has been transferred.

Second, as with Dragonfly, the security and privacy teams might have been deliberately bypassed. Google and Verily have a couple of people with world-class expertise with privacy, electronic health records, etc, and yet their names are nowhere in the documents.

Third, lots of East Asian names for the Google participants. The non-Asians appear to be in marketing and project management. Why is this significant? The privacy teams at Google, Microsoft, Facebook (etc) are almost all white. Also, East Asians rarely advance to any position that requires good communications, initiative, diverse skillsets, etc. It looks very much like Google assigned this to a bunch of clown project managers, supplied with H1B type engineers who would shut up and keep quiet.

Blogger Mr X November 12, 2019 7:07 PM  

They also have all the genetic data of users of 23andme, which officially belongs to Sergey Brin's wife, but it's not really an independent company. I mean, Anne Wojcicki is married to Brin, and her sister is the CEO of Google's Youtube behind all the recent censorship there. There's a lot of nepotism in the elite.

Blogger Zaklog the Great November 12, 2019 7:11 PM  

Because in terms of the advice that it implicitly suggested be adopted was mostly along the lines of most effective means of reducing WC claims -- real or bogus, was in simply NOT hiring women or certain ethnic groups in the first place.

Oh no, guys! It’s The Rise of the Racist Robots!

Blogger nidus of inflection November 12, 2019 7:13 PM  

Google and Ascension, the healthcare organization it has partnered with, boasted that the scheme is completely legal.

At some point, it doesn't matter.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine November 12, 2019 7:17 PM  

" after Google and Ascension, the healthcare organization it has partnered with"

What's in a name? Sounds like transhumanists.

Rather, after a minute of search engine research, it's coopted ersatz Catholics. Their stated focus is poverty and "those most vulnerable".

The organization is said to be nonprofit. Yet they have investors and quarterly reports? I'm not terribly certain, but that sounds abnormal. Is that abnormal for a nonprofit?

Beyond that though, from their website, I can't glean a whole lot of information. Most of what they state about their goals and strategic direction is vague enough to make me wonder about wolves in sheep's clothing, rather than just fools feeding strays.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine November 12, 2019 7:23 PM  

From their pictures, they are 100% married to the multiculti, and they keep using the word "spiritual" like a mantra, rather than any other terms. More often than mentioning that they are Catholic. I like failure modes I would expect, this is not an expected failure mode, which means something worse.

Blogger Tino November 12, 2019 7:25 PM  

It is a violation of the law. I used to do EMRs back in the day. The health institution and the patient are joint owners of the record. This is true in all 50 States. This is why for a couple bucks the institution HAS to release ALL of your record. (I highly recommend doing so. Make sure you explicitly require every doctor's clinical note since some try to finesse this aspect. One should always keep an up to date copy of records when travelling and in the trunk of the car should it become necessary.) The health institution can release ONLY de-identified records. Any other use requires the explicit permission of the patient, even more so in the insanity of HIPAA. Google can't hide being an authorized partner when it sweeps millions of records WITH identification info.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine November 12, 2019 7:25 PM  

"code-named Project Nightingale"

So, seduction rather than overt rape. Of course it's "completely legal". If they couldn't find a loophole they'd "court" the right people to make one.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine November 12, 2019 7:28 PM  

"Don't think it was predictive programming though, that requires more horsepower than that auther has."

Harari? Others have already done that work for him. He wouldn't intend it as predictive programming, it's more of "the elites know what's best for you better than you do". Gotta remember it's over a hundred years since they started trying to program the human being. At some point it becomes expected even by the people who don't fully recognize it.

Blogger R Webfoot November 12, 2019 7:29 PM  

I wonder if this includes vaccination compliance records.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine November 12, 2019 7:32 PM  

"If I read they were buying up all the anti-aging research to make sure humans died off I wouldn't be surprised."

I'd fully support them if that's what they were doing. Death is the blessing of a merciful God for imperfect beings. Have to remember what God said about shortening men's lifespans after the Flood.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine November 12, 2019 7:34 PM  

"Without deliberate preservation, what’s the expiration date on post-mortem DNA testing?"

Depends. In some areas the ground stays pretty much frozen year round, in which case it could be a long, long time to expiration. Normally they'd get DNA from the marrow and such left protected in tiny pockets in the bones, because that's going to be about the last thing to completely go.

Blogger Nikolai Collushnikov November 12, 2019 7:40 PM  

Google officially gave up the motto "Don't be evil" years ago.

Blogger Servant November 12, 2019 7:43 PM  

Ffs. As absurd as this is there's a commenter worried about them stalling anti aging research. No worry about Google stalling anti aging research dude. These are the people who want cyborgs and genetically modified humans. Just because they want to eugenicize rh+ doesn't mean they don't want dolphin human hybrids.

Blogger Gen. Kong November 12, 2019 7:45 PM  

Himself wrote:

I use to work in IT in a medical lab. I'm nearly certain this is illegal as hell. I have to sign HIPAA forms every time I go to a doctor, then once a year after. Far as I know, there's nothing on them about 4th parties, which is what google would be here. Love to know how they explain getting around that.

You are undoubtedly correct. You're just ghost-dancing though. There is no law ever since "law" became whatever a Blackrobe says it is at any particular moment. The so-called "law" in the Rotten Banana Empire is now basically what Stalin described "education" as being - a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed. The Kritarchs hold the weapon and three guesses about who the intended targets are (first two don't count). Destroying them (yes they are truly evil beyond all hope of redemption) will require another vector of attack - at least at this stage. Yes they're a massive Goliath but don't forget that all David required was a sling and a stone when attacking in faith. As with Achilles, they have a heel. It needs to be located.

Blogger Brett baker November 12, 2019 7:50 PM  

3 score and 10 is good enough for God, it should be for man.

Blogger The Lab Manager November 12, 2019 8:09 PM  

Maybe they can use the data to identify some of us as 'da rasis' for not wanting unlimited turd world immigration. I imagine we could be denied medical care or worse like that fine NHS service in Britain.

Blogger Better Left Unsaid November 12, 2019 8:24 PM  

This could easily be legal but it could also be illegal if the data was subverted.

Ascension is allowed to contract with vendors who will analyze their patients health data in order to spot various types of problems or concerns that were missed by the medical staff. There are private companies that specialize in this analysis.

If Google gets the data from Ascension in order to support a valid analysis arrangement like this, then it could be legal. If, however, Google also uses that data for purposes other than supporting the medical services that Ascension provides to its patients, then it could be in trouble. For example, if Google used the medical information to customize the ads shown to patients on their mobile devices and web browser, that is unlikely to match up with acceptable use of medical information under HIPAA.

Fines for violating HIPAA can add quickly as they apply to each incident happening to each patient.

Blogger Nate November 12, 2019 8:27 PM  

This alone is grounds to throw google's whole board of directors in jail for 20 years.

Doctors have had their careers destroyed... because they were discussing a patient with another doctor seeking advice, and were overheard in the cafeteria...creating a HIPAA violation.

This?? THIS???

There should be hangings.

Blogger Stilicho November 12, 2019 8:35 PM  

Even if Google has a facially valid reason for viewing the data, it is highly unlikely it does so for keeping the data. And this is Google we are talking about here, so the odds that they are not using the data illegally (targeting ads, selling it, combining it with other data for use in some scheme, giving away to China, etc.) are vanishingly small.

Blogger Emmanuel November 12, 2019 8:45 PM  

"Remember, good people don't have to remind themselves "don't be evil"."

No one's 'good,' though.

Blogger dienw November 12, 2019 8:51 PM  

The Libertardians should love this...because Muh Capitalism. Not only doesn't socialism work neither does Muh Capitalism.

Google has broken the HIPAA laws. Even if you are too blind to understand that Google is an arm of the intelligence industry, we still have the right to be secure in our personal information or papers, no matter what form such items take. These bastards are as ghoulish as the organ harvesters: we are nothing but commodities with information "organs" to be harvested; and not even compensated.

Blogger Doktor Jeep November 12, 2019 9:00 PM  

There's already laws in place regarding medical records. Unless people are posting direct medical records online the only way to get that information is through compromise and hacking.
Now the SJWs know about my third testicle.

Blogger J Van Stry November 12, 2019 9:02 PM  

@39 Capitalism has nothing to do with this. The Federal Government MANDATED that everyone's medical files would be uploaded.
Nobody in the medical field wanted this, because they all saw that it would be abused.
This isn't Capitalism. It's socialism, with the inevitable results: Someone with power grabbed the data and will now us it to make themselves both richer and more powerful.

Blogger dienw November 12, 2019 9:05 PM  

41. J Van Stry
Go read #35 and watch him dance the seven veils of the Muh Capitalism dance.

Blogger dienw November 12, 2019 9:10 PM  

Co-incidentally. K. Denninger discusses this same topic much more vehemently.

Blogger Keith November 12, 2019 9:56 PM  

>Lawyers...have reacted with a mixture of horror and fury

For some reason my mental image of this less pearl-clutching and more grabbler-looking.

Blogger weka November 12, 2019 10:03 PM  

Google assume that the laws do not apply to them. They do.

Docs do talk cases. It is called peer review: closed door, frank discussion, no minutes taken so lawyers can't get them.

What is also happening in lots of places is that the really sensitive stuff such as therapy notes is no paper and not, repeat not, uploaded into the electronic medical record.

Docs game diagnosis as well -- to access needed medications or therapies, to minimize stigma. One tends to use less precise options when coding.

Because confidentiality.

And because no one trusts insurance companies.

As someone from outside the USA the sharing of anonymized data by the state is far more common than by researchers because researchers have to get ethical approval... Which is not automatic.

Blogger The Pitchfork Rebel November 12, 2019 11:18 PM  

My wife is an RN. At one point, her HIPAA directives included things like turning menu selections upside down lest a passerby inadertantly discover some aspect of patient health, like sodium restrictions for the hypertensive.

And yet this thing INTENTIONALLY is gathering PHI (protected health information).

Blogger Nathan Hornok November 12, 2019 11:25 PM  

I work in the medical field and I can attest that HIPPA enforcement is no joke. I don't know all the details of this case, but if taken at face value, but just based on the optics, politicians could push certain rhetoric and put google out of business tomorrow if they felt so inclined. Interesting times ahead.

Blogger DonJuanBear November 12, 2019 11:55 PM  

https://youtu.be/nVlVTY-Pn9Q

Blogger Newscaper312 November 13, 2019 12:04 AM  

Info on HIPAA penalties assessed here, some in multiple millions
https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/newsroom/index.html
The question is to what extent they violated the rules, or played the game right to stay within the letter of the rules while still being scumbags. You know damned well what they are almost certainly doing is using some figleaf of a legit bus associate relationship to get their hands on that data, then ALSO data mining the hell out of it.

Alphabet/google IS trying to do a bunch of population level research on outcomes, effectiveness, scoring providers, etc to come up with valuable $$$ products or information to guide providers, policy, maybe even help develop better procedures or medicines. This is all much bigger than anything about targeting you with ads, etc. Not illegitimate in and of itself BUT 1) all that info feeding into their ML systems should be deidentified for those tertiary purposes and sounds like maybe its not AND 2) there is the completely untested, unresolved issue of them potentially making megabucks off your data without compensating you maybe based on some grabbler lawyer fine print in some over reaching terms and conditions you rubber stamp signed along the way.

Blogger Shimshon November 13, 2019 12:26 AM  

Legal? We don't care.

This wouldn't be a prosecutor's first foray through the morass of novel interpretation of the law to get an indictment. And this would be for good instead of evil. Even if ultimately exonerated, like IBM and Microsoft were in antitrust efforts, a determined effort could hamstring a corporation for years.

Blogger Gregory the Tall November 13, 2019 1:32 AM  

So next the sjws will publish not only your address, but also your medical history and that of your children. Interesting times, indeed.

Blogger Jamie-R November 13, 2019 4:00 AM  

Nothing like the company that bought you a satellite image of one of the curiosities at Epstein's Island and masked it as a tennis court having your personal medical history as you become a somebody in society.

Blogger Shane Bradman November 13, 2019 4:33 AM  

@52. "Satellite" image
You can bet Google has done some weird stuff with that one as well.

Blogger Stacey November 13, 2019 6:15 AM  

When I read the title I thought the post was going to be about google buying Fitbit, but it hasn't been mentioned, so I'm mentioning it.
My husband is in finance and told me this about two weeks ago. We threw our fitbits in our wood burner that night.

Blogger HouellebecqGurl November 13, 2019 7:23 AM  

No, (((Anne 'I have all your DNA, goyim' Wojcicki))) sister of
(((Susan 'YouTube Destroyer' Wojcicki)))
was married to evil Googler (((Sergey Brin))) but he dumped her for young mystery meat strange on the (((Google))) campus.
Not that I'd trust any of them, but for accuracy's sake this is what's what.

Blogger HouellebecqGurl November 13, 2019 7:24 AM  

As the late great Sam Francis termed it, Anarcho-Tyranny.

Blogger HouellebecqGurl November 13, 2019 7:26 AM  

You know that it do. Gotta make sure they weed out the Orthos and goyim being non-compliant.

Blogger basementhomebrewer November 13, 2019 7:33 AM  

we still have the right to be secure in our personal information or papers, no matter what form such items take

That right hasn't been recognized in the US for some time. They monitor all of your electronic activity and your bank account. The only thing left is literal papers in your house and they will find a way to monitor those eventually too. All it takes is a judge defining "unreasonable" how they see fit. I have already heard people explain that as long as it's not an inconvenience to the average citizen then the government has a right to look at whatever they want.

One question even someone of moderate intelligence might have is why you still have to fill out your medical history every time you go to a new doctor/to urgent care? If they are forcing electronic data storage why can't it be accessed to convenience the patient? What is the real purpose?

Blogger Gettimothy November 13, 2019 8:39 AM  

Why are we loyal to this government again?

Blogger The Cooler November 13, 2019 8:56 AM  

why you still have to fill out your medical history every time you go to a new doctor/to urgent care? If they are forcing electronic data storage why can't it be accessed to convenience the patient? What is the real purpose?

Changing or omitting something on one's medical history, or demonstrating a pattern of changing or omitting things on said history, provides a present or future insurance company opportunities to not pay out on present or future insurance claims. An insurance company can also use such documentation to sue you to get 'their' money back, in the event of payout on 'fraudulent' claims or other such 'malfeasance.'

Blogger BriarRabbit November 13, 2019 11:01 AM  

This is a good spot to mention another favorite author besides Vox Day (and hopefully Big Bear soon if he will get to writin'!) - J.J. Luna. Mr. Luna wrote a book called "How To Be Invisible". He also did several editions to update it (I have a mentnion in Edition #2 for an incident I had with an insurance company regarding privacy! It was the one good thing to come of it.)

He has recently admitted that being truly invisible is nearly impossible currently, especially if the US Gubbermint is the entity with whom you're trying to remain invisible. However, he has some GREAT tactics. Owning any vehicle, RV or otherwise, with an LLC is one - and through him you can get an LLC that would require a LOT of work by anyone trying to find the registered agent. Also, owning a home with a trust. Anonymous mailing services and tactics, etc.

Pursuing privacy can actually be a fun "hobby".

I may have to write Google a letter requesting a positive response that they do not maintain any health data on me and get their agreement they will pay me a handsome sum for keeping any such data. Throw in a fee schedule and I may at least keep a few attorneys busy.

Okay, time to go get rid of these Gmail addresses I've had for years. Ugh. - MoonshineBear

Blogger Avalanche November 13, 2019 11:09 AM  

@1 "Does its health database say Google is cancer?"

No silly, of course not. GOOGLE's health -- and that of its honchos -- is kept private!

Blogger Avalanche November 13, 2019 11:15 AM  

@9 "what’s the expiration date on post-mortem DNA testing?"

Oh my Zaklog! You are way behind -- they are actually pulling 'sort-of' readable DNA from DINOSAUR remains! And those 1,000-yr-old mammoths in permafrost? No prob. Heck "we" even managed to go to ... Greenland? Iceland? one of the Poles? Don't remember, don't care, doesn't matter -- and dig up folks who died of the 1918 pandemic flu. Cause, you know, We NEEDED that genetic line for "research"! Now, granted most of this is icicles... but they're finding usable genetic lines in buried corpses from hundreds of years ago....

Besides, Google doesn't necessarily want all the dead people's DNA.... just the best diseases!

Blogger Robert What? November 13, 2019 11:45 AM  

I don't get it: how does Google get access to ostensibly private health records?

Blogger Ken Prescott November 13, 2019 11:54 AM  

I know a nurse who got canned for posting a selfie of herself at her workstation.

You could read patient info over her shoulder.

I doubt anybody at Da GOOG understands how to handle HIPAA information.

This needs to end with heads on pikes in front of Ascension and GOOG HQs.

Blogger spinoza November 13, 2019 2:54 PM  

Gettimothy wrote:Why are we loyal to this government again? I pledge allegiance to the flag and the republic for which it stands, ONE nation, under god with liberty and justice for akk.

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