This Week in Data – 15 November

This week in data – 15 November:

Each week, we compile the best stories in data. Get up to speed on this week in data, without having to search for it.


Would you trust Google with your medical records?

You might not have a choice. Google might already have access to the health records of tens of millions of people. Apparently, a project called “Project Nightingale” gave Google employees access to patient data, including lab results. Google says everything is above board, but…it helps to know that others might be looking at your blood work. Considering Google just bought FitBit, this peek into health might be just the beginning.


“Health privacy experts told WSJ that the project appears to be legal under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). As the newspaper notes, the law “generally allows hospitals to share data with business partners without telling patients, as long as the information is used “only to help the covered entity carry out its health care functions.'””


Data governance is a top concern for execs

As it should be! New research from Gartner shows audit executives are concerned about the lack of rigor around their data protection, particularly in the light of GDPR. Nearly 80% of those interviewed said they will lose competitive advantage if they don’t use data in the right ways. But more than half don’t have formal data governance frameworks. Get a move on, then!


“While there are numerous steps an organization can take to address the above risks and more, to prepare for the challenges of 2020 and beyond, all begin with assessing the adequacy of risk management strategies and ensuring these strategies are adaptable.”


UK Education Department criticised for sharing child data

The Department is under fire for sharing information on children with the Home Office, with fears that it might be used for immigration enforcement. And the Information Commissioner says the department may not have complied with its ethical obligations. 


“Parents and campaigners became concerned the following year when the DfE asked schools to start collecting data on children’s nationality and country of birth. This resulted in a mass boycott by families who were worried it might be used for immigration enforcement.”


Real estate industry data sharing to be made easier

One of the big problems in real estate, like a lot of industries, is the use of disparate systems in different countries. Now a new API has hit the market which should help commercial real estate  vendors share information across workflows and systems, and oceans. Hooray! 


“Furthermore, cloud computing can help realize increased workflow connectivity between applications, which enables real-time streamlined integration across different applications.”


Data predictions for 2020

Information surveillance will come under attack, dark patterns and bad ethics will start costing money, and third-party data will come with caveats. Those are just a few of the data predictions contained in Forrester’s new guide to data ethics in 2020…and the full report is worth a read.


“Privacy dark patterns that make it hard to opt-out or nudge users to accept overbroad data sharing will make headlines and result in brand damage.”


Microsoft supports California consumer privacy act

Not only supports it…but supports it pretty strongly. The act gives everyone in the state the ability to request and access any data a company has on them. The various state laws popping up in lieu of federal protection make it harder on companies, but Microsoft doesn’t seem to mind. 


“Our approach to privacy starts with the belief that privacy is a fundamental human right and includes our commitment to provide robust protection for every individual.”


That’s our wrap for this week. Thanks for reading – we hope you found it entertaining and informative. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these articles and anything else data related! Email us anytime at

Until next week,

Team Data Republic

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