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Experts Discuss Google's Secretive Project Nightingale

Experts Discuss Google's Secretive Project Nightingale

Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL)'s Google unit is actively storing and analyzing patient data with the major hospital system Ascension in an initiative dubbed Project Nightingale. 

Howley: Nothing Illegal

Google's relationship with Ascension dates back a year and is fully compliant with all federal laws, especially the HIPAA privacy law, Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley said in a video.

Yet many people have been unaware that their personal data was sent from a health care provider to Google, he said. 

The health care industry could better optimize data and information if it is stored on a public cloud system, Howley said. 

Google's core purpose is making people's lives better, and if Google has good intentions from the patient's point of view, then the partnership makes sense, said RiverFront Investment Group Chief Market Strategist Kevin Nicholson.

'Big Fat Zero'

Regardless of intent, the past few years have shown that no data is fully secure from outside theft.

Not only did a "big fat zero" number of patients agree to have their data sent to Google, but it is unclear what protection mechanism is put in place, Benchmark Investments CEO Kevin Kelly said.

Google was the victim of a breach in late 2018 when data from 52.5 million Google+ accounts were stolen, Kelly said.

Perhaps more concerning, Google didn't disclose the security breach and ultimately shut down the unit after an attempted cover-up, he said.

"People need to be in charge of their data and the control needs to go back to the consumer and not in the hands of those that can be hacked." 

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