Data News Roundup – Thursday, April 16th

Data News Roundup- April 16th

It should come as no surprise that AtScale’s Data News Roundup this week is predominantly related to COVID-19. As our society works to flatten the curve, companies around the globe are also trying to provide public health organizations with as much trusted data as possible to help public health agencies make more informed decisions – with that we are seeing major breakthroughs, tech partnerships and data privacy concerns float to the surface. Let’s take a closer look at this week’s news. 

Apple responds to senators’ privacy fears over COVID-19 screening tools– April 13th, 2020

By Adi Robertson 

The Verge

The Verge reports on Apple’s promise that its COVID-19 screening tools include “strong privacy and security protections” and that Apple will “never” sell the data it collects. According to the article, “the screening tool doesn’t ask for a user’s name, but it requests information about their age, travel history, possible exposure to infected people, and other details that could determine whether they should be tested for the novel coronavirus. Apple says it “collects only the information necessary” to run the app, including analytics like crash reports, and if it decides to store and share more data in the future, it would get user consent.”

UK government using confidential patient data in coronavirus response– April 12th, 2020

By: Paul LewisDavid Conn and David Pegg

The Guardian

According to documents seen by the Guardian, tech firms are using information to build a ‘Covid-19 datastore.’ Palantir is working with Faculty, a British AI startup, to consolidate government databases and help ministers and officials respond to the pandemic. According to the article, the companies involved do not control the data and are not permitted to use or share it for their own purposes, and the firm only had access to aggregated data via NHS systems.

Companies Seek to Pool Medical Records to Create Coronavirus Patient Registry – April 8th, 2020

By Patience Haggin


The Wall Street Journal reports that a handful of healthcare and software companies are seeking to create a registry of Covid-19 patients by pooling medical records from across the country, aiming to study how the disease is spreading, which population groups are most vulnerable and how effective proposed treatments are. Snowflake is reportedly in discussions to host the database free of charge.