Alexa-NHS Partnership Causes Privacy Concerns

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Earlier this week, the UK’s National Health Service announced a partnership with Amazon to provide health information via Alexa-enabled devices. While such a move clearly has some benefits, unsurprisingly, it brought up privacy concerns too. Privacy International laid out some of the issues in a recent blog post.

While we welcome Amazon’s use of a trusted source of information for medical queries, we are however extremely concerned about the nature and the implications of this partnership. Amazon is a company with a worrying track record when it comes to the way they handle their users’ data, as we have seen from the recent scandal that revealed how they had contracted thousands of employees to listen in on users’ interactions with their Alexa device. Despite public outrage and campaigning, Amazon chose to ignore the concerns of their customers and maintain their default privacy settings that fail to protect their users. Our medical information is often the most sensitive data there is about us and a lot can be inferred from the questions we ask and the searches we make when we have health concerns.

Check It Out: Alexa-NHS Partnership Causes Privacy Concerns

Alexa-NHS Partnership Causes Privacy Concerns

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  1. Cognomen

    Couldn’t agree more, Charlotte.

    One positive is that the partnership is not being driven by Google who arguably has the worse record for security.

    However, I am really trying to work out the benefits that will accrue for Amazon as the benefits for the NHS are, as stated in the article, pretty obvious but questionable.

    One concern I do have is that if the general populace get used to equating Alexa with the NHS, how much of the scarce NHS resources will be diverted to the technical problems that Alexa brings?

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