Amazon has free access to the healthcare information collected by the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) under the terms of a government contract, The Guardian revealed. The information could potentially give Amazon a huge leg up to develop, advertise and sell its own products.
In July, Amazon and NHS revealed that the tech giant’s voice-controlled tool, Alexa, would be leveraged to provide helpful healthcare information to users in the U.K., such as answering a question like, “What are the symptoms of the flu?”
The report comes at a time when patient privacy concerns are gaining attention and scrutiny as major technology companies partner with healthcare companies. For example, Google’s deal with Ascension Health, the nation’s largest Catholic health system, has come under fire for giving Google access to the health information of tens of millions of Ascension patients.
New information received by The Guardian found that Amazon was allowed to access other NHS information that it can use to make new products and benefit financially. In addition, Amazon can also share the information with third parties, The Guardian reported.
According to NHS, the contract does not allow patient data to be shared with Amazon. Amazon also said the information it can collect is already publicly available on the NHS website.
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