Infosys dismisses rumours it worked on emergency alerts system

28 April 2023 3 min. read
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IT services giant Infosys has rubbished claims that it received ‘millions’ in taxpayer funds to implement a test of the UK government’s emergency alert system. The rumours were also quashed by government sources, after the allegation went viral on social media.

A spokesperson for Infosys stated, “Infosys has not been involved, directly or indirectly, in the creation of the UK government emergency alert system.”

Infosys was founded by N.R. Narayana Murty in 1981, who has since held roles including Chair and CEO at the IT services firm. Since retiring, Murty has served as Chairman Emeritus, and his family retains a 3.6% minority stake in the company.

Infosys dismisses rumours it worked on emergency alerts system

This stake has seen Infosys subject to intense scrutiny in recent months, as Murty’s eldest child, Akshata Narayan Murty, is married to Rishi Sunak – who became Prime Minister in late 2022. With the government already facing mounting allegations of conflicting interests and inside trading before his premiership began, Sunak’s ties to Infosys seem to have been at the heart of rumours that the firm had undertaken work on its recent emergency system trials.

On the 23rd of April, the test in question saw a siren sound on smartphones across the UK, as the government looked to make sure its system warning of life-threatening emergencies was functional. Reports quickly circulated that many people didn't receive the alert and for some people it sounded earlier than expected – and as critics began to suggest it had been a waste of public funds as a result, some social media users added to the discontent by suggesting the event had also gone to line the pockets of a firm with ties to the Sunak administration.

Most notably, news satirist Jonathan Pie took to Twitter to say, “So let me just get this straight...the alert thing that happened yesterday (that huge waste of time and money) was created by a company called Infosys. Infosys being the company run by Rishi Sunak's father-in-law.”

That same claim – along with similar ones that multinational IT company Fujitsu had ‘subcontracted’ the work out to Infosys – were also reshared thousands of times by other accounts on Twitter and Facebook. According to the government’s Contracts Finder, Fujitsu had been awarded a £665,606 contract with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, “to provide service management and project services in support of the development of a UK wide Emergency Alerts system”, though this contract ended in July 2022.  

A number of people arguing that Fujitsu had subcontracted this test to Infosys pointed to a particular 2003 press release from Infosys, claiming the company would “provide co-development and functionality enhancement services to the Fujitsu suite of software products”. However, the firms remain a separate entity – and according to fact-checking service Full Fact, there is “no evidence at all of Fujitsu’s work is “funnelled through” Infosys, as some appear to be claiming.”

That was backed up by a statement from the government itself, which read, “This is completely untrue - there are no connections with Infosys in the running of the Emergency Alerts system.”