May 17, 2022

Digital Privacy: “Google Has Secret Project Gathering Health Data”

UPDATED POST (November 13, 2019): ROUNDUP: Fallout From Google’s ‘Project Nightingale’ Revelation: A Federal Inquiry, Lawmakers’ Criticism and Patient Privacy Fears (via KHN)

Google Has a Trust Problem, and It Could Kill the Company’s Cloud Ambitions (via CNBC)

NOTE: More Google News“Google is Getting Into Banking with the Search Giant Set to Offer Checking Accounts Next Year”(via CNBC)


From Reuters (via Mercury News):

Alphabet Inc’s Google is teaming up with a health-care company on a secret project to collect personal health-related information of millions of Americans across 21 states, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Google launched “Project Nightingale” last year with St. Louis-based Ascension, according to the report, citing people familiar with the matter and internal documents.

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From The Wall St. Journal:

Neither patients nor doctors have been notified. At least 150 Google employees already have access to much of the data on tens of millions of patients, according to a person familiar with the matter and the documents.

In a news release issued after The Wall Street Journal reported on Project Nightingale on Monday, the companies said the initiative is compliant with federal health law and includes robust protections for patient data.

Some Ascension employees have raised questions about the way the data is being collected and shared, both from a technological and ethical perspective, according to the people familiar with the project. But privacy experts said it appeared to be permissible under federal law. That law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, generally allows hospitals to share data with business partners without telling patients, as long as the information is used “only to help the covered entity carry out its health care functions.”

Read the Complete Article

See Also: Official Ascension Statement

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.