Google, or Gafams’ Appetite for Health

Source: Pixabay

With the digital transformation, in many areas data becomes like the real or fantasized Eldorado… One area does not escape this rush, the  Health and Well-being sector, and it excites numerous appetites but especially the Gafams one, but also other players in American Tech like IBM…
For many, my concern seems exaggerated, if not unjustified … In addition, we will do everything to make you feel guilty, ‘Sharing your data is contributing to research’ etc… The problem is how to ensure that our data is not used something other than what they are intended for, or what we have agreed to?
What approaches for Gafams and for what risks? Take the case of Google.


Google is interested in this industry through several angles of attack:

  • Collecting unstructured data from its search engine, allowing it to have a strong basis for developing epidemiological assessment algorithms
  • Collection of well-being and ‘health’ data via its Fit app or through the acquisition of connected wellness objects companies such as FitBit
  • The creation of partnerships for the processing of medical patient data (in US, taking into account less protective legislation) with hospitals or insurance companies. Or also through partnerships with pharmaceutical manufacturers to enable “Big Data” analytics, but with data hosted in the Cloud …

These few examples are not exhaustive, and there are still many other projects that probably go under the radar …
But then, are the risks:

  • For industrial collaborations: the data is at Google, nothing is ever really erased, and moreover they encourage you to store everything whatever the quality (the price of storage is not a subject). However, Google is an American player and is therefore subject to the ‘Patriot Act‘ and ‘Cloud Act‘, if for some reason the American state considers that it is the vital interest of the US to come and see your data. will be done and you won’t even know … It’s a major risk of distortion of competition …
  • For Health data, think of the scandal of the past year concerning the massive leak of patient data in which Google was involved: ‘The Nightingale project
  • Let’s not talk about the personal uses of the Google suite (Drive + gmail), where you agree to share your data with Google… I let you imagine the impact this has, when your general practitioner or specialist sends you medical documents by messaging… (Terms of use: ‘When you import, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you grant Google (and anyone working with Google) a license worldwide , use, hosting, storage, reproduction, modification, creation of derivative works’)

As you can see, there are many reasons to question the accuracy of the unsafe use of the tools offered by Google. Indeed, the objective is not necessarily to give up the use of these tools which are well designed, but to measure the risks and be bound by good practice …

But, what concerns me the most is is the failure to take these risks seriously into account by the various partnerships launched by Google with the various players in the Pharmaceutical, Hospital or Insurance sector can only raise questions. Remember, you are the product …
Finally, do not forget that there are French and / or European solutions which guarantee at least compliance with the European regulations in force: #withings, #olvid, #protonmail #cozy


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