Google: We May Say We Are Sorry. Very, Very Sorry

May 18, 2017

I remember the wonderful scene in a “Fish Called Wanda.” John Cleese was apologizing to the addled US government professional. Now the US government professional held John Cleese upside down out of a window. The implication for me was that threatening death elicited a prompt, sincere apology.


I’m sorry. No, really.

The write up “Google’s Controversial DeepMind Deal for 1.6 Million NHS Patients’ Data Called Legally Inappropriate” is going to elicit something that Alphabet may spell this way:

We’re sorry. We’re really, really sorry.

The words are best rendered with the painful chords of Brenda Lee’s hit “I’m Sorry” playing on one’s Pixel phone.

The Independent wants to be digital and has a keen interest in Google or at least its referrals to the newspaper’s Web site. I learned from the “real” journalism source that:

In February last year [2016], Google said Streams would help hospital staff monitor patients with kidney disease, but a document obtained by New Scientist caused further concern when it revealed that DeepMind was receiving historical medical data, records of the location and status of patients, and even details about visitors.

Hmm. A leaked document from another “real” news outfit. Sounds pretty typical for a fake news world. My hunch is that those engaging with the Google made assumptions about what Google’s content intake system would intake.

Where are we? From my vantage point in Harrod’s Creek, the situation looks like this: Barn burned. Horses made into glue. Amazon storefront built on the site.

The write up points out the legal loophole through which one could float a Loon balloon:

Patient data and confidentiality are protected by strict rules, but patients are “implied” to have given their consent for data-sharing if it’s shared for the purpose of “direct care”.

Ah, ha. Fire up that Loon balloon, folks. She’s floating into patient dataspace.

If that balloon knocks off a chimney pot, the Silicon Valley datanauts will wave and sing:

You tell me mistakes
Are part of being young
But that don’t right
The wrong that’s been done

Stephen E Arnold, May 18, 2017


One Response to “Google: We May Say We Are Sorry. Very, Very Sorry”

  1. Selina jackson on May 18th, 2017 2:51 pm

    nice post

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