National data guardian says patient data transfer from Royal Free to Google subsidiary has ‘inappropriate legal basis’ as information not used for direct care

The transfer of 1.6m patient records to Google’s artificial intelligence company DeepMind Health has been criticised for its “inappropriate legal basis” by the UK’s national data guardian.

In a letter leaked to Sky News, the national data guardian, Dame Fiona Caldicott, warned DeepMind’s partner hospital, the Royal Free, that the patient record transfer was not for “direct care” since the data was initially used to test the app that the two organisations were working on, before patients were treated with it.

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