Tuesday November 12, 2019
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New Policy by Google to Reveal Political Ad-spend in India

Google would introduce an India-specific "Political Advertising Transparency" report and searchable "Political Ads Library" in March

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The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

As India gears up for the Lok Sabha elections, Google on Tuesday announced an updated election ads policy that will provide comprehensive information about who is purchasing them on Google platforms and how much money is being spent.

The updated election ads policy will require advertisers to provide a “pre-certificate” issued by the Election Commision of India (ECI) or anyone authorised by the ECI, for each ad they wish to run.

Google will verify the identity of advertisers before their election ads run on its platforms, the company said in a statement.

“In 2019, over 850 million Indians are expected to cast their vote to elect the country’s next government. We’re thinking hard about elections and how we continue to support democratic processes in India and around the world,” said Chetan Krishnaswamy, Director-Public Policy, Google India.

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company’s offices in Toronto. VOA

“In line with this, we are bringing more transparency to election advertising online, and surfacing relevant information to help people better navigate the electoral process,” Krishnaswamy added.

The advertiser verification process will begin on February 14.

Also Read- People Know About You Even if You Aren’t on Facebook

Google would introduce an India-specific “Political Advertising Transparency” report and searchable “Political Ads Library” in March.

“For the Lok Sabha Election 2019, Google will make electoral information from the ECI and other authoritative sources easily discoverable on Search,” the company said. (IANS)

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Tech Giant Google Secretly Gathering Health Information of Millions of US Citizens

According to Google, some of the solutions it is working on with Ascension are not yet in active clinical deployment, but rather are in early testing

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The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

Google is reportedly gathering health information of millions of US citizens — without informing them or their doctors — to design an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven software, the media reported.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, “Google is engaged with one of the US’s largest health-care systems on a project to collect and crunch the detailed personal-health information of millions of people across 21 states” and at least 150 Google staffers may have access to the data.

St. Louis-based faith-based healthcare organisation Ascension is sharing lab results, diagnoses and hospitalisation records — as well as health histories complete with patient names and dates of birth — with Google, the report claimed.

“The initiative, code-named ‘Project Nightingale,’ appears to be the biggest effort yet by a Silicon Valley giant to gain a toehold in the health-care industry through the handling of patients medical data,” the report said.

The crunching of health data is the next big frontier for tech giants as Apple to Amazon and Microsoft are aiming big to infuse data findings into their devices and solutions in the burgeoning healthcare space.

The New York Times later wrote that “dozens of Google employees” may have access to sensitive patient data and some may have downloaded that data too.

As part of “Project Nightingale”, Ascension uploaded patient data to Google’s Cloud servers.

In a blog post, Google tried to clarify its partnership with Ascension.

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FILE -Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during the keynote address of the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif., May 7, 2019. VOA

“All of Google’s work with Ascension adheres to industry-wide regulations regarding patient data, and come with strict guidance on data privacy, security and usage,” said Tariq Shaukat, President, Industry Products and Solutions, Google Cloud.

Google said it has a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with Ascension, which governs access to Protected Health Information (PHI) for the purpose of helping providers support patient care.

“To be clear: under this arrangement, Ascension’s data cannot be used for any other purpose than for providing these services we’re offering under the agreement, and patient data cannot and will not be combined with any Google consumer data,” said the company.

Ascension also issued a statement, saying it is working with Google to optimise the health and wellness of individuals and communities, and deliver a comprehensive portfolio of digital capabilities that enhance the experience of Ascension consumers, patients and clinical providers across the continuum of care.

“All work related to Ascension’s engagement with Google is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) compliant and underpinned by a robust data security and protection effort and adherence to Ascension’s strict requirements for data handling,” said the healthcare company.

Also Read: Microsoft to Implement California’s Digital Privacy Law Throughout the US

According to Google, some of the solutions it is working on with Ascension are not yet in active clinical deployment, but rather are in early testing.

“This is one of the reasons we used a code name for the work — in this case, Nightingale,” it added.

However, neither Google nor Ascension directly replied to the WSJ report.

In 2017, Google partnered with the University of Chicago Medical Centre to develop machine learning tools capable of “accurately predicting medical events — such as whether patients will be hospitalised, how long they will stay, and whether their health is deteriorating despite treatment for conditions such as urinary tract infections, pneumonia, or heart failure.” (IANS)