An independent review panel has raised a number of concerns about how Google DeepMind is working with the National Health Service (NHS) in a report published on Wednesday.
Artificial Intelligence subsidiary DeepMind tasked the panel with scrutinising its NHS partnerships after New Scientist revealed that the company had quietly been given access to 1.6 million patient records to develop a kidney monitoring app called Streams without their prior knowledge.
The unpaid panel includes ex-Cambridge MP Julian Huppert, The Co-Operative Group’s current chief digital officer Mike Bracken, venture capital investor Eileen Burbidge, and six other members.
The panel’s 22-page report, which cost DeepMind £59,315, raised concerns about subjects including:
- The lack of clarity in the original information sharing agreement (ISA) with the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
- 11 “minor” vulnerabilities that were found across the app, the API (application programming interface), and the servers in DeepMind’s data centre
- And the lack of work on public engagement, particularly in relation to the links between DeepMind Health and Google.
While there were criticisms, the report — published two days after the UK data watchdog ruled that DeepMind’s first deal with the NHS was illegal — also commends DeepMind for its overall high level of data security, and for openly publishing its new contracts with the NHS with minimal redactions. The report provides a number of recommendations for DeepMind to consider when working with the NHS in future.