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  • Google Gathers Personal Health Data on Millions of Americans

    Home Forums Code Red – Security/Privacy advisories Google Gathers Personal Health Data on Millions of Americans

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      • #2004328 Reply
        samak
        AskWoody Plus

        From the Wall Street Journal:

        Google’s ‘Project Nightingale’ Gathers Personal Health Data on Millions of Americans
        Search giant is amassing health records from Ascension facilities in 21 states; patients not yet informed.

        https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-s-secret-project-nightingale-gathers-personal-health-data-on-millions-of-americans-11573496790

        The article is behind a paywall but you can also read about it free at :

        https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50388464

        W7 SP1 Home Premium 64-bit, Office 2010, Group B, non-techie

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2004340 Reply
        AJNorth
        AskWoody Plus
      • #2004341 Reply
        samak
        AskWoody Plus

        “Per WSJ, Ascension is sharing complete patient health records, including lab results, diagnoses and hospitalization records — as well as patient names and dates of birth — with Google.
        At least 150 Google employees have access to data on tens of millions of patients”

        I bet this gives you a warm,fuzzy feeling. What could possibly go wrong?

        W7 SP1 Home Premium 64-bit, Office 2010, Group B, non-techie

        3 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2004380 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          The idea behind all this is to train a machine-learning algorithm to help physicians diagnose their patients’ complaints quicker and more accurately than otherwise. So the intention is good. It’s just the execution that is awful.

          Training the algorithm could have been done, instead, with patients’ information properly scrubbed clean of personal identifiable information, in a walled computing environment, following privacy-safe access protocols, in servers belonging to the company, Ascension, that owns the hospitals where those patients were interned. Ascension did not have to hand their patient records over to Google, so it could keep them in its servers, where its employees could have direct access to them. What are those “privacy-safe protocols”? Well, I have no idea, but those huge brains in such “highly innovative, paradigm-changing, disruptive” businesses as Google, if motivated enough, I’m pretty sure they will think of something.

          In the meantime, to help motivate them “to think of something”, next time one has to be hospitalized and as soon as able to make it, perhaps the very first telephone call should be to a lawyer.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

          4 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2005217 Reply
            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody_MVP

            If they really want to improve healthcare algorithms without violating patient privacy, then they should do their own testing and development, not turn it over to Google.

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      • #2004388 Reply
        CADesertRat
        AskWoody Plus

        Evidently Google didn’t know quite enough about the population so it was nice of Ascension to “share” and now Google can get a pretty complete picture. Goodness knows that they need to know more to make more money off of our information (as I sit here typing this into Chrome) 🙂

        Another article: https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/would-you-trust-google-with-your-medical-records-it-might-already-have-them/

         

        Neither Google nor Ascension has notified patients or doctors about the data sharing. Ascension—a Catholic, non-profit health system—includes 34,000 providers who see patients at more than 2,600 hospitals, doctor offices, and other facilities across 21 states and the District of Columbia.

        Don't take yourself so seriously, no one else does 🙂
        4 Win 10 Pro at 1909 (3 Desktops, 1 Laptop).

        • This reply was modified 10 months, 3 weeks ago by CADesertRat.
        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2004428 Reply
          AJNorth
          AskWoody Plus

          (as I sit here typing this into Chrome)

          Have you considered using a different (and substantially more private) Chromium-based browser, such as Slimjet (my default browser for several years; secondary is Firefox ESR), along with additional security and privacy add-ons (such as uBlock Origin, NoScript, HTTPS Everywhere and Privacy Badger)?

          (Please see https://malwarecomplaints.info/slimjet-browser-review-speed-utility/ and https://www.softpedia.com/get/Internet/Browsers/Slimjet.shtml.)

          • #2004470 Reply
            CADesertRat
            AskWoody Plus

            Have you considered using a different (and substantially more private) Chromium-based browser, such as Slimjet (my default browser for several years; secondary is Firefox ESR), along with additional security and privacy add-ons (such as uBlock Origin, NoScript, HTTPS Everywhere and Privacy Badger)?

            Yes, I have looked around but I’ve pretty much got all the privacy controls turned off and I use Cookie AutoDelete 3.0.2 to take care of Google’s cookies (and other sites also including this one). It seems to work quite well at killing all the cookies. I also use AdBlock Plus and Start page dot com for search.

            Don't take yourself so seriously, no one else does 🙂
            4 Win 10 Pro at 1909 (3 Desktops, 1 Laptop).

        • #2008072 Reply
          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody_MVP

          If I were a patient of Ascension, I would seriously consider filing a class action lawsuit against them for turning my medical records over to Google. This is a huge violation of the trust I would have extended them with regard to my private medical information.

          The IT folks at Ascension are perfectly aware of the data harvesting that Google continually does; yet they handed the keys to the vault over to Google.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2008097 Reply
            wavy
            AskWoody Plus

            and of course one must find out if you actually have any connection with Ascension…

            🍻

            Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #2004637 Reply
        Mele20
        AskWoody Lounger

        Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, etc are NOT behind paywalls on my Windows 8.0 Pro machine. Plus, the Daily Mail displays much better and with no auto starting of videos on my Windows 8 machine on both Firefox 52.9 ESR and Basilisk 2019.10.31 than on Windows 10 1803. I have the same extensions for both browsers on both computers. On Windows 10, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal are paywalled.

        I don’t use my seven year old Windows 8 Pro computer much and I didn’t realize these sites are not paywalled on it. Of course, it could be that as I use more (now I realize I can read those sites) that the sites may put up a paywall but there was nothing about “thanks for reading, you are almost out of free articles this month”, etc. (Plus, I hate being reminded of how Intel has managed to cripple the speed on my two year old Windows 10 computer and I haven’t installed most of their security fixes and only one bios update. None of that on the Windows 8 computer which also has an SSD and Intel processor).

        Anyhow, anyone with a Windows 8.0 (NOT 8.1) computer should try the paywalled sites.

        • #2004649 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          What has the OS got to do with it? The browser is the thing that controls web site views.
          Do you have plug-ins / old browsers on that machine?

          cheers, Paul

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2004656 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Mele20: Your interesting comment has got my attention.

          Last time I checked, some months ago, the Washington Post was still letting people read a certain number of articles before bringing the paywall curtain down. The WSJ was letting non-subscribers see the beginning of articles and complete videos (I just checked, and still it is like that). Can you actually read an unlimited number of complete articles from the WP and the WSJ?

          I doubt that the software that is used, including the browser, should make a difference. A  newspaper’s paywalled site is, supposedly, designed to require either a login from those that already have a subscriber’s account, or an application for having such an account open, before allowing wide access to unlimited number of whole articles. Unless there is a bug in the Web site software, but the same bug in two different newspaper sites? Perhaps both sites using the same software with the same bug?

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2005034 Reply
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        NoScript??

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        • #2005216 Reply
          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody_MVP

          NoScript??

          That would be the way I would deal with this. I currently have ALL Google scripts blocked in NoScript except for Google Maps. I recently decided to allow Google Maps because I felt it was the least harmful of the many ways that Google spys, and lots of stuff I want to access simply won’t work if I don’t allow Google Maps.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2005224 Reply
            AJNorth
            AskWoody Plus

            Agreed.

            As mentioned in an earlier post, I employ uBlock Origin, NoScript, HTTPS Everywhere and Privacy Badger (along with Cookie AutoDelete and Canvas Blocker) on my browsers (Slimjet and Firefox ESR, both as their portable versions and also run in Sandboxie).

            Yes, it does take a bit more time to set up individual sites, but in my estimation, the added security and privacy are well worth the effort (as is the cost of adding a VPN).

            • #2008075 Reply
              MrJimPhelps
              AskWoody_MVP

              After a short amount of time, it has become second nature to scroll through the NoScript list and block or allow whatever I want. And over time I have learned some useful information. For example, I have learned that Google Scripts run in the background on almost every website on the internet. Everywhere you go they are running – and NoScript allows you to see this.

              Everywhere, that is, except on Microsoft websites. NoScript has caused me to be a huge fan of Microsoft, because I can see that Microsoft runs only their own scripts on their own websites; and Microsoft scripts don’t run on anyone else’s websites. In other words, Microsoft doesn’t have their tentacles everywhere, spying on everyone on planet earth, like Google does.

              Having said that, I don’t know what data are being collected via Windows Telemetry; but I suspect that it is harmless and generally related to making Windows better and more secure.

              I am often amused by people loudly complaining about Microsoft “spying”, while those same people are silent about Google spying. If you want to see the extent of Google spying, surf the web with Firefox, with NoScript running. Click the NoScript button on every website you visit, and you will be absolutely shocked to see the universality of Google spying literally everywhere you go.

              Group "L" (Linux Mint)
              with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
              1 user thanked author for this post.
              • #2008096 Reply
                wavy
                AskWoody Plus

                Others may disagree but sometimes using NoScript slows down the loading of pages, seems one script is waiting for another that is being blocked. While I am still using NS as I have not found suitable alternatives ( scripts and cross site stuff being blocked not just ads which I tend to put up with as part of the whole WWW experience as needed to pay for infrastructure )
                I have often thought that sites should list just what is needed to run for their site to function. I find even if I allow “all scripts on page” to run that is not sufficient, I may need to select that option several times.

                I know yammer yammer!!!🤬

                🍻

                Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
          • #2011419 Reply
            KP
            AskWoody Plus

            I block Google Maps and only NoScript, Temporarily Allow when it is need.

            • This reply was modified 10 months, 1 week ago by KP.
            1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2005765 Reply
        CADesertRat
        AskWoody Plus

        Another interesting article:

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/14/im-the-google-whistleblower-the-medical-data-of-millions-of-americans-is-at-risk

         

        Don't take yourself so seriously, no one else does 🙂
        4 Win 10 Pro at 1909 (3 Desktops, 1 Laptop).

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2007505 Reply
        TsarNikky
        AskWoody Plus

        This, effectively, negates whatever protections that formerly existed under HIPAA.

        All the ballyhoo about “security in the cloud” is just so much transitory water vapor in the sky–hardly secure or permanent.

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