CarerWatch forum website pulled.A MULTINATIONAL firm contracted by the Tory-led Coalition Government to assess benefit claimants has been accused of using heavy-handed legal tactics to silence its critics, after a series of online discussion forums were threatened with legal action.
French company Atos Healthcare, which has a £100 million contract to carry out work capability assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, claimed it had acted to protect staff from malicious allegations and libel.
The loss of one site, CarerWatch, this week provoked a storm of criticism of the company. The discussion forum, which provides mutual support for the families and carers of disabled people, was taken offline by its internet service provider, without any chance to respond to Atos’s complaints.
"Aberdeen South MP Anne Begg chairs the Westminster Work and Pensions Select Committee, which issued a report last month critical of the work carried out by Atos.
She said: “I can appreciate Atos might feel uncomfortable with some of the things on some of these sites, which are not very polite. But if they had contacted CarerWatch they might have been able to avoid taking the whole site down. People in the disabled community are very frightened of some of the things Atos are responsible for under the Government contract. Unfortunately for Atos, what this has done is reinforce people’s fears.” "
Nazi Germany anyone?