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The right to health implications of data-driven health research partnerships

Dickens, AD (2021) The right to health implications of data-driven health research partnerships. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

PhD- FINAL VERSION (w. corrections).pdf

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The public-private partnership between DeepMind Health and the NHS sparked public outcry for violating patient privacy, capturing the attention of right to privacy scholars and practitioners. By contrast, critiques pertaining to the broader political economy of the collaboration- which invoke debate around public-private partnership models and Big Tech’s expansion into healthcare markets- have not been sufficiently investigated by human rights scholars, despite implicating socio-economic rights. This thesis explores the political economy of the DeepMind-NHS partnership and its implications for the right to health, applying an interdisciplinary lens that synthesises insights from political economy, critical data studies, and international human rights law. Drawing on findings from documentary analysis of grey literature and semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders and opinion-leaders, it argues that data-driven health research partnerships like DeepMind-NHS generate resource asymmetries by enabling technology companies to extract wealth from publicly-funded data in exchange for inequitable and uncertain public benefits. These partnerships thus fail to leverage public sector data resources to realise the right to health, highlighting the need for alternative models. The thesis further reveals knowledge asymmetries that prevent effective state and corporate accountability for the right to health, exposing the limitations of existing instruments for corporate human rights responsibilities and exploring the rationale for additional human rights obligations for Big Tech. Together, these findings reveal that data-driven health research partnerships risk infringing upon the right to health, thus challenging the underlying political rationale for public-private partnership and revealing the problematic ethico-legal consequences of Big Tech’s commercialisation of health data.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Human rights; right to health; political economy; public-private partnership; technology; critical data studies; data; artificial intelligence
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JX International law
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Law, School of
Depositing User: Amy Dickens
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2021 15:05
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2021 15:05

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