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SAN FRANCISCO — In December 2016, Google and the University of Chicago signed a contract outlining a research collaboration in which the tech giant would receive reams of de-identified patient data, some of it unusually detailed. Two and a half years later, that deal would get both organizations sued over allegations that patients could, in fact, be identified.

The outcome of the suit could hinge in part on the stipulations in the contract. A copy of the agreement, obtained by STAT and published here, enumerates the many types of data that the University of Chicago went on to share with Google — including the two types that spurred the accusations that the information could be identifiable.


One was “free text data,” the notes that clinicians jot down that can’t be stored in a structured format. The other was “actual dates of service and events,” such as when a patient checked in and out of the hospital.

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