Scientists fear the controversy over the Nightingale project will undermine trust in research.
Google and one of the largest health-care networks in the United States are embroiled in a data-privacy controversy that researchers fear could jeopardize public trust in data-sharing practices and, potentially, academic studies.
At issue is a project dubbed Nightingale that gives Google access to the health-care information, including names and other identifiable data, of tens of millions of people without their knowledge. The people were treated at facilities run by the health network Ascension, which is based in St Louis, Missouri.
Google says that Nightingale, first reported in The Wall Street Journal on 11 November, is meant to develop technology that would enable Ascension to deliver improved health care.