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Case update 21 November 2023

US tech giant has landed NHS contract – we’re fighting back

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The shady spy-tech company Palantir has been given a £330m NHS England data contract. We’re fighting to make sure our private health information is kept private.

NHS England has announced the award of a huge data contract to the controversial US-based tech giant Palantir. The company was co-founded by the rightwing entrepreneur Peter Thiel, who’s been very critical of our NHS and has been reported as claiming that it “makes people sick”. Is this the type of man you would feel comfortable with handling your personal health records?

Back in July, we warned that the NHS might award Palantir this contract – despite widespread concerns. Now the company will be running the Federated Data Platform for the next seven years.

While we fully understand that the NHS needs to store information about patients, people should be able to have control over where else that data is used.

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The Health Secretary, Victoria Atkins, claims thatthe safety and security of patient data is front and centre of this new system.” But the way in which NHS data is currently being processed lacks transparency, and it looks like patient data is being mishandled. We expect the situation to get worse now Palantir is in charge. 

Only eight of 36 NHS trusts in England known to be piloting the platform have been willing to cite any specific benefits from it, according to the Health Service Journal.

We are now preparing legal challenges to make sure the NHS handles our sensitive data properly, with a clear mechanism so that we can all take meaningful steps to keep private health information private.