US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The National Health Service of Great Britain (NHS) has provided a secret US technology firm Palantir with access to the personal data of millions of British citizens, CNBC reports citing a contract released last Friday.
Data includes personal contact information, gender, race, occupation, physical and mental health status, past criminal offenses, and religious and political affiliations.
The contract, known as the data exchange agreement, was published by the political site OpenDemocracy and the law firm Foxglove along with similar contracts with Google, Microsoft and AI startup Faculty.
“The contracts show that the companies involved, including Faculty and Palantir, initially gained intellectual property rights (including the creation of databases) and were allowed to train their models and profit from unprecedented access to NHS data,” write openDemocracy editor-in-chief Mary Fitzgerald (Mary Fitzgerald) and Foxglove founder lawyer Cori Crider on the blog.
Data is a very valuable commodity for tech giants, and patient data is among the most sought after.
The contracts show that Palantir requested £ 1 ($ 1.27) for using its Foundry data management software, while Google offered “technical, consulting, and other support” at no cost.
All technical firms were hired by the UK government to create a national platform that would allow health officials to understand how coronavirus spreads across the UK and help them allocate resources properly.
Details of the creation of the platform were first announced in March, but the UK government refused to publish all important data sharing agreements after a series of requests for freedom of information, including from CNBC. The contracts were finally published last week after OpenDemocracy and Foxglove threatened to prosecute.
Palantir is a privately held company whose business is largely secret. The company specializes in big data technology and is known for collaborating with the CIA, the FBI and the US Army. Founded by billionaire Peter Thiel, an associate of President Donald Trump, Palantir is developing sophisticated data analysis and visualization tools that help government departments, banks, and other organizations maintain information security, counter terrorism, and detect fraud. In particular, the company’s software was used by US intelligence agencies to track the ex-head of al-Qaeda (the organization is banned in Russia) Osama bin Laden.
Palantir sees enormous opportunities in Europe, and currently has more employees in its London office than in its California headquarters.
Last September, Palantir was planning to raise $ 26 billion in new funding, according to the agency. Reuters . It is expected that this year his income will reach $ 1 billion.
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