8 June 2021
Our health data has the potential to shape our health service.
Data can inform the development of new treatments that save lives. It can support vital public health initiatives. It can help the NHS refine and improve care.
Our collective information can be used for all of our benefit, but only if it’s in our hands.
Out of our hands and in the pockets of private companies, data has the potential to shape our NHS to prioritise profits over patients, with big tech and AI deciding who is treated and how.
Enter Palantir, a giant American tech company. Originally funded by the CIA, and with one of Trump’s most cash-happy donors at the helm, it generates profit through big data gathering and surveillance support for US and UK government agencies. The company has been instrumental in nearly every huge security scandal you can name in the last decade: Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), separating migrant children from their families; NSA and GCHQ’s mass surveillance programmes exposed by Snowdon for tracking millions of citizens online; racist US policing, creating technology that targets black communities; the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, providing intelligence software that remains secret to this day .
So would you trust this corporation with every record relating to your physical, sexual and mental health?
What have Palantir got to do with our health records?
We know that the government has used the pandemic as a smokescreen for sneaking private companies into our public services. One of these companies is Palantir, which has been handed contracts worth £24 million to build the NHS Covid data-store. But this isn’t just a temporary measure. Palantir has now been listed as a 'preferred partner' for the NHS data service, at the same time as Matt Hancock instigating the largest seizure of personal medical records in NHS history.
Sensitive information about all of our lives is either a safeguarded resource that we have a say over, only used by trusted and trained health professionals to our benefit, or it is a goldmine for companies wanting to extract more and more money from a diminishing NHS until we have a US style health care system.
So what can be done?
Foxglove and OpenDemocracy are fighting for this first path, having pushed for and won the release of secret data deals in 2020, uncovering Hancock’s NHS contract handouts to Palantir. Now you can take the next step with their new No Palantir in OUR NHS campaign, and demand that the UK government ends all of Palantir’s involvement in the NHS for good.
Sign the petition and find out about the NO Palantir in OUR NHS campaign here.
You can also take action to opt out of your personal GP data being grabbed by following the steps on this website before the September 1st deadline: https://medconfidential.org/how-to-opt-out/, and signing Open Democracy’s petition calling on Matt Hancock to drop the data sharing plans.