A third party audit of a controversial patient data-sharing arrangement between a London NHS Trust and Google DeepMind appears to have skirted over the core issues that generated the controversy in the first place. The audit ( full report here ) — conducted by law firm Linklaters — of the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust’s acute kidney injury detection app system, Streams, which was co-developed with Google-DeepMind (using an existing NHS algorithm for early detection of the condition), does not examine the problematic 2015 information-sharing agreement inked between the pair which allowed data to start flowing. “This Report contains an assessment of the data protection and confidentiality issues associated with the data protection arrangements between the Royal Free and DeepMind . It is limited to the current use of Streams, and any further development, functional testing or clinical testing, that is either planned or in progress. It is not a historical review,” writes Linklaters, adding that: “It includes consideration as to whether the transparency, fair processing, proportionality and information sharing concerns outlined in the Undertakings are being met.” Yet it was the original 2015 contract that triggered the controversy, after it was obtained and published by New Scientist, with the wide-ranging document r aising questions over the broad scope of the data transfer ; the legal bases for patients information to be shared; and leading to questions over whether regulatory processes intended to safeguard patients and patient data had been sidelined by the two main parties involved in the project. In November 2016 the pair scrapped and replaced the initial five-year contract with a different one — which put in place additional information governance steps. They also went on to roll out the Streams app for use on patients in multiple NHS hospitals — despite the UK’s data protection regulator, the ICO, having instigated an investigation into the original data-sharing arrangement. And just over a year ago the ICO concluded that the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust had failed to comply with Data Protection Law in its dealings with Google’s DeepMind. The audit of the Streams project was a requirement of the ICO. Though, notably, the regulator has not endorsed Linklaters report. On the contrary, it warns that it’s seeking legal advice and could take further action. In a statement on its website, the ICO’s deputy commissioner for policy, Steve Wood, writes: “We cannot endorse a report from a third party audit but we have provided feedback to the Royal Free. We also reserve our position in relation to their position on medical confidentiality and the equitable duty of confidence. We are seeking legal advice on this issue and may require further action.” In a section of the report listing exclusions, Linklaters confirms the audit does not consider: “The data protection and confidentiality issues associated with the processing of personal data about the clinicians at the Royal Free using the Streams App.” So essentially the core controversy, related to the legal basis for the Royal Free to pass personally identifiable information on 1.6M patients to DeepMind when the app was being developed, and without people’s knowledge or consent, is going unaddressed here.
India’s food delivery race is hotting up after Swiggy , one of the startups vying for pole position, landed $210 million in new capital for expansion and joined the billion-dollar startup unicorn club. The investment is led by existing backer Naspers, the media conglomerate famous for an early bet on Tencent in China, and new investor DST Global. Others taking part in the round include returning investor China’s Meituan Dianping and (another new investor) Coatue Management. The deal takes Swiggy’s valuation past the $1 billion mark for the first, with sources close to the company confirming that the deal values the company at around $1.3 billion. That’s perhaps not a tonne of surprise around today’s announcement since it has been rumored in Indian press for some time, with Economic Times first reporting on it in April . This Series G investment comes just months after Naspers and Meituan Dianping invested $100 million into Swiggy in February . The new round takes Swiggy to over $465 million raised from investors to date, making it India’s most-capitalized food delivery startup. Nearest competitor Zomato has raised some $440 million from investors that include Alibaba’s Ant Financial affiliate, Sequoia Capital and Temasek, but its business also includes markets outside of India, whereas Swiggy’s is firmly focused on its homeland. ( Zomato was most recently valued at $1.1 billion. ) Swiggy claims to cover 35,000 restaurants with a delivery fleet of over 40,000. The company isn’t giving financials at this point, but it said that it has seen “a three-fold increase in revenues in the last financial year.” The company isn’t saying in specifics how it will use the new capital, but a representative told TechCrunch that the plan is to invest in extending its reach to new locations in India and also to build out its logistics network to better serve customers.