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Report: Google whistleblower explains decision to leak the company’s medical-data project

Report: Google whistleblower explains decision to leak the company’s medical-data project
[Photo: Paweł Czerwiński/Unsplash; Thomas Dumortier @hagrid_at_work/Unsplash]

The Google whistleblower who revealed to the world that millions of Americans’ medical data was at risk has written an anonymous essay, explaining what led to the decision to tell everyone what was going on.

The opinion piece in The Guardian, posted this morning, cites initial fears that people didn’t know their most personal information was now in the hands of the tech giant, its Project Nightingale. The security of that private data also was alarming to the leaker, considering the many hacks reported by the media, including attacks suffered by banks and Target. That the data wasn’t stripped of personal details, aka “de-identified,” the writer found problematic, too.

“I’d like to hope that the result of my raising the lid on this issue will be open debate leading to concrete change,” the person wrote. “Transfers of healthcare data to big tech companies need to be shared with the public and made fully transparent, with monitoring by an independent watchdog.”

Google didn’t comment on the essay, but e-mailed Fast Company a link to the company’s blog post on Project Nightingale.

The Wall Street Journal on Monday broke the news of Google’s Project Nightingale. The company got medical information from the Ascension health system to crunch, but patients and medical staff weren’t alerted.

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