202126 Feb
Palantir once more in sights of civil libertarians over NHS Covid data store
General News

Media organisations Open Democracy and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism have acted in unison to put in question the NHS and the UK state’s wider dealings with data mining company Palantir. In March 2020, the NHS confirmed it was working with Palantir, Microsoft and Google to improve its data analytics efforts and make its battle against the Covid-19 coronavirus more efficient and effective. Open Democracy has now initiated legal proceedings against the UK government for extending the “emergency” and virtually pro bono (a nominal cost of £1) contract struck with Palantir at the height of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Open Democracy organisation said, in a statement explaining why it is suing the government: “We’re taking the government to court because, right before Christmas, they quietly gave this CIA-backed firm a major, long-term role in handling our personal health information, and in England’s cherished National Health Service.” Meanwhile, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has revealed that Palantir’s UK boss, Louis Mosley, hosted a dinner attended by David Prior, chair of NHS England, on 2 July 2019. “The government shouldn’t use the pandemic as an excuse to embed major tech firms like Palantir in the NHS without consulting the public, Foxglove director Cori Crider told the BBC.

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