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Amazon One Medical Acquisition Raises Data Privacy Concerns

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Amazon announced on Thursday that it is acquiring One Medical, the subscription-based primary care provider, in a $3.9 billion cash deal — one of its largest acquisitions to date.

The purchase significantly increases Amazon’s healthcare footprint — a goal Jeff Bezos first set in 2018, the year he and Warren Buffet and Jamie launched Dimon Haven, a mega-corporation of Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase, founded to solve American health problems. that effort got out of hand in 2021; but Amazon has since been unveiling Amazon Care, its in-house primary and emergency care for employees, and acquiring the PillPack pharmacy service.

For now, Amazon says it has only signed a definitive merger agreement with One Medical, meaning the deal is not yet closed. However, these details won’t prevent this from representing an epic new layer of service bundling: Amazon, your online marketplace, grocer, streaming service, smart speaker provider, and cloud computing service, will soon be your brick and mortar clinic, too. With One Medical, Amazon will gain a practice consisting of more than 180 offices in two dozen U.S. cities that will partner with an additional 8,000 companies to provide their employees with a variety of health benefits, from personal to virtual care.

One Medical has had a loyal customer base since 2007, although a number of them immediately took to social media on Thursday morning to raise the alarm about what the Amazon acquisition could mean for their personal medical information.

Polls have generally shown that: consumers are wary of major tech companies in data privacy, although Amazon is also often among the best in the world most liked brands.

All tech giants have untold amounts of data on billions of people. It goes back years and can contain everything from sensitive private messages to users’ personal interests and political affiliations. Governments and police forces are increasingly interested in tapping these data gold mines. But One Medical emphasizes so-called protected health information – an issue that has been raised since the overthrow of Roe v. Wade. The potential for states to sue people for seeking abortion care is a concern for some clients, privacy advocates and public health officials.

Since the Supreme Court ruling last month, concerns have arisen about Amazon’s intention to protect this specific type of medical data. Post release, an internal petition demanding Amazon respond more vigorously to: roe‘s destruction gathered thousands of signatures. Questions were raised about whether users’ Alexa voice data could be subpoenaed and whether Amazon’s own health care programs would continue to provide customers with abortion care or emergency contraception.

Then last Tuesday, six Democrats — Representatives Lori Trahan, David Cicilline, Yvette Clarke, Debbie Dingell, Adam Schiff and Sean Casten —Amazon sent a letter ask to describe what it has done to protect privacy since roe was overthrown. “What steps, if any, has your company taken . . . to protect the privacy rights of those seeking to exercise their reproductive rights?” asked their letter. “Who is authorized or can be authorized to access the data you collect?”

In response to londonbusinessblog.comIn the request for comment, an Amazon representative stressed that it is too early to comment on specific policy changes or contractual language, as these things could still change. “The deal is not closed and nothing changes today,” the representative said.

Still, the deal does not change One Medical’s obligations to comply with HIPAA and other applicable laws, Amazon noted. “Protected customer health information is protected by Amazon’s practices and the law, including HIPAA, and we will continue to focus on this as we continue to expand our healthcare business, including the acquisition of One Medical.”

The company did not respond to a question about whether customers’ protected health information could still be turned over to government or law enforcement.


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