AI firm was awarded $500,000 by the UK Government with a new contract to help deal with the coronavirus pandemic so let’s read more about it in our latest crypto news today.
The contract shows the data including a social media rating score that might be processed. Parts of the document were redacted so the main goal of the data collection remains unclear. The privacy campaigns and the civil rights groups were flagging major concerns about the state surveillance resulting from the coronavirus tracing endeavors. The UK government seems to be stepping up the efforts to obtain far-reaching personal data in order to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
The Guardian reported that the ministry of housing, communities, and Local government awarded a contract worth $500,000 to an AI firm Faculty where it was requested a copy under freedom of information laws. The contract specified that the company could analyze data and social media profiles as well, utility bills and credit score ratings. However, the copy of the contract was partially redacted.
Determining how this information could help the company fulfill the agreement with the UK government about the coronavirus tracing remains unclear. The relevant excerpt from the contract specifies there are three areas where immediate support is required. The faculty is one of the companies that worked with the controversial vote leave campaign as a part of the Brexit referendum. The campaign previously came under fire from the privacy watchdogs after emerging that Facebook users didn’t give consent to their data being used for targeted advertising in favor of Britain leaving the EU.
One campaign group threatened legal action due to the huge uncertainty regarding the extent to which private firms are using the confidential information of the citizens. It seems however that the general population could not share the concerns of privacy campaigners. Another survey conducted by the Financial Times found that two-thirds of the British people were in favor of government phone tracking in order to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. Fighting the spread of the virus using contact tracing could be done in other ways, some more intrusive than others.
As previously reported, different apps are now under development with one option offering enhanced privacy protection by taking a decentralized approach to storing the data. The NHS in the UK developed a new solution that they haven’t yet rolled out.
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