UK govt publishes contracts granting Amazon, Microsoft, Google and AI firms access to COVID-19 health data

UK govt publishes contracts granting Amazon, Microsoft, Google and AI firms access to COVID-19 health data

UK government has published the contracts it holds with private tech firms and the NHS for the creation of a COVID-19 data store, just days after campaigners fired legal shots over a lack of transparency.


Available on the openDemocracy website, the contracts describe how the arrangements between the NHS and Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and AI firms Faculty and Palantir (which subcontracts to AWS) will operate.


Campaign groups Foxglove and openDemocracy, which brought the action, said that the documents show the tech firms were set to build data models for commercial purposes from NHS training data before being challenged.



The contracts show that the companies involved, including Faculty and Palantir, were originally granted intellectual property rights (including the creation of databases), and were allowed to train their models and profit off their unprecedented access to NHS data



"Significantly, the contracts show that the terms of at least one of the deals – AI firm Faculty – were changed after initial demands for transparency under the Freedom of Information Act," the groups said.


"The contracts show that the companies involved, including Faculty and Palantir, were originally granted intellectual property rights (including the creation of databases), and were allowed to train their models and profit off their unprecedented access to NHS data."


However, the government has not released a subsequent contract which it claimed solved the problem of data being exploited for private sector gain.


"openDemocracy and Foxglove are demanding its immediate release," the pair said today.


In May, a publishes contracts granting amazon microsoft google firms access covid health