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Hey Google, Give Us Some Answers

A bipartisan group of US Senators has requested more information about Google's partnership with healthcare system Ascension to collect and mine a wide range of medical data, the Wall Street Journal reports today.

Through the so-called Project Nightingale, Google has gathered information on Ascension patients including lab results, diagnoses, names, and dates of birth. While Google has said that it intends to use the data to develop new software tools and improve patient care, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have sent a letter to Ascension seeking more details about the program, the WSJ says.

The WSJ previously reported that Google Health Head David Feinberg responded to lawmakers' requests for details on Project Nightingale in a letter that largely stuck to generalities. In their new letter to Ascension, the Senators are quoted as saying, "Though Google began its response by telling us that the company was 'proud to provide more details on Google's work supporting Ascension,' the response ultimately did not provide us with all of the information we asked for."

Among the questions that remain unanswered are whether patients were proactively notified of Google's access to their information or if they could opt out; the full list of data shared; what specific services Google has promised to provide; and whether there has been any breach of the data, the WSJ writes.

The WSJ previously reported that Ascension agreed to provide Google with tens of millions of patient records under their agreement.

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