LONDON (Reuters) – Google on Friday defeated a lawsuit brought on behalf of 1.6 million people over medical records provided to the U.S. tech giant by a British hospital trust.
The Royal Free London NHS Trust transferred patient data to Google’s artificial intelligence firm DeepMind Technologies in 2015 in relation to the development of a mobile app designed to analyse medical records and detect acute kidney injuries.
Britain’s data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office, said in 2017 that the Royal Free, which is part of the public National Health Service (NHS), misused patient data when it provided the information to DeepMind.
Alphabet Inc unit Google and DeepMind were sued last year by Royal Free patient Andrew Prismall on behalf of 1.6 million people for alleged misuse of private information.
The companies argued in March that the case is “bound to fail” as there was no prospect of establishing that all 1.6 million claimants’ private information was misused, or that they had any expectation of privacy in relation to the information.
Judge Heather Williams ruled on Friday that the case should not proceed, agreeing the case is “bound to fail”.
“I conclude that each member of the claimant class does not have a realistic prospect of establishing a reasonable expectation of privacy in respect of their relevant medical records,” she said in a written ruling.
(Reporting by Sam Tobin; Editing by Sachin Ravikumar)