Did you catch our thread on the expanding reach of US company Palantir into UK public institutions? £91m+ awarded to the controversial Silicon Valley data-analytics outfit across government. Let's take a closer look at their work with the NHS...
@allthecitizens examined the NHS contracts Palantir won under Covid19, trying to find out what aspects of our health data this private company has been given access to. But we couldn’t find out - key parts of the contracts are redacted.
At least £25.4m in contracts have been awarded to Palantir from UK Health Services. Their latest (Dec 2020) was worth up to £23m for them to continue deploying their Foundry data management platform within the NHS until 2022.

Foundry claims it can ‘source, connect, and transform’ data to ‘make operations analytical and analytics operational.’ It’s a big-data system that, in an NHS context, analyses patient data. More specifically, your data.

Palantir won their first NHS contract for just £1, supporting the COVID-19 datastore (Mar-June 2020); then a £1m, 4 month extension for the same work; then £908k for aiding the Test & Trace system (June-Sep 2020).

The £1 contract was awarded under the emergency procurement legislation brought in under Covid, circumventing the tender process. Palantir provided 45 engineers, costing c.£88,000. Initially it was meant to be a short term agreement.

The £1m extension was also not tendered. NHSX even released a statement Palantir would be required to “package up the work they’ve been doing so the service can go out to tender”. That never happened.

The £23m contract wasn’t tendered either, and despite early assurances Palantir’s involvement with the NHS was only an “emergency” response, it seems a much longer-term relationship between Palantir and UK Health Services is now on the cards.

The new contract stipulates the health data gathered by Palantir will extend to Cabinet Office,UK Gov branches, GPs, and local councils - “integrated or collaborating formally with a Local System”. It’s big data across government.
Also, it says some data processes will become “general business-as-usual monitoring” post-pandemic, raising concerns Covid19 is being used as a cover for major data handling changes in government.
So what health data will Palantir have access to? Well, we don’t know. The details of what data sets Palantir can view were redacted on the contract.
Older contracts issued under emergency procurement rules showed Palantir were given access to patient genders, nationalities, work IDs, religious/political beliefs, physical & mental health conditions and past criminal offences.
Why a private company needs access to patient religious or political beliefs, or past criminal offences, is uncertain. Concerns are that Covid19 provides private companies a chance for major public data grabs - and what then happens to that data is not clear.
Also - is there a danger that, as with the initial £1 NHS deal, Palantir gets entry into the NHS via a ‘loss leader’ of discounted software, before becoming enmeshed deep within the NHS’s patient data systems - indispensable and immovable?
In the US, Palantir primarily works with public bodies. @wired reported police forces there who bought them in encountered “spiralling prices, hard-to-use software, opaque terms of service, and “failure to deliver products”

Given No.10’s recent plans to introduce a “radical shake-up” of the NHS, should we be concerned about all these medical contracts that have gone to Palantir? After all it is your data that is at stake here.

UK Government is required under the NHS Act to consult with the public before making major structural changes to the NHS. They have not done so in this case, despite Westminster moving towards mass-data sharing initiatives across government.

We don’t know what role Palantir software will play in this, or how the privacy of your medical data will be impacted by this new drive for data-lead “innovation” in government. But if contracts are issued in the dark, delayed, or redacted, how are we even to know?

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with The Citizens

The Citizens Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @allthecitizens

24 Dec 20
With Christmas just around the corner, the UK has suffered a record rise to 4.8% unemployment since September due to Covid-19, and is now facing the worst recession in Europe.

But for those with the right contacts in government, 2020 has told a very different story. THREAD:
@allthecitizens and @bylinetimes have teamed up to catalogue the 12 most flagrant and shocking abuses of public funds spent on PPE procurement since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Presenting, the 12 Contracts of Christmas:
1. Saiger LLC - (up to) £389 million

Saiger, who's director owns a firm specialising in selling fashion accessories, won multiple PPE supply contracts, and as revealed by the BBC paid a go-between £21 million in tax-payer cash to help source the items.

Read 16 tweets
16 Dec 20
Amidst the billions spent by government - from a failing Test & Trace system to scandalous PPE purchasing - one industry seems to have profited more than most from the chaos of Covid: consultancy firms. THREAD.
Public data shows that at least 50 UK or US consultancy firms have been brought in to advise the government on Covid projects, costing almost £200 million to the taxpayer:
92% went to 10 firms - Deloitte, Boston Consulting, PA Consulting, Accenture, Price Waterhouse Coopers, McKinsey, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Baringa Partners, and Cambridge Consulting - winning £184+ million contracts between them.
Read 22 tweets
1 Dec 20
BREAKING: the UK government does "not intend to publish the list of suppliers who were awarded personal protective equipment contracts" following the high-priority lane VIP process "as there may be associated commercial implications”.
Lib Dem peer Lord Strasburger @LordStras asked the question in the House of Lords on whether the government would publish a list of all companies contracted to supply PPE via the high-priority lane used to assess and process potential procurement leads. Image
Lord Bethell, of the Department of Health & Social Care, said: "We do not intend to publish the list of suppliers who were awarded personal protective equipment contracts after having had their offers reviewed with more urgency as there may be associated commercial implications.”
Read 4 tweets
26 Nov 20
BREAKING: Almost two thirds of known VIP Covid-19 contracts awarded through a VIP fast-track service came via the offices of Tory ministers. THREAD.
As @goodlawproject has revealed, a special VIP procurement channel was set up for Covid 19 contracts. @allthecitizens have explored the dedicated Cabinet Office email address to which VIP and invited companies could pitch for contracts.
The existence of this email was “publicised across the PPE procurement programme and to relevant private offices across government and Parliament”.
Read 21 tweets
25 Nov 20

Over half a billion pounds of UK Covid-19 testing contracts awarded to multinational accused of supplying goods to China that assist ‘genomic surveillance’. THREAD:
US-based life science company Thermo Fisher Scientific owns several subsidiaries which have won 20 UK Coronavirus-related contracts since March 2020, totalling some £550 million.
These include a £331 million award to Life Technologies for Covid-19 testing equipment, the biggest Coronavirus contract we have found awarded to a single firm to date.

Read 14 tweets
18 Nov 20
Have you heard of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church (PBCC)? The Brethren is an evangelical Christian group that seems to have links to 21 UK companies that have won at least 49 Covid-related contracts since March, worth as much as £1.1 billion. THREAD.
We have no evidence that the companies involved do not have appropriate manufacturing expertise, but in light of the revelations about a VIP track to Covid contracts, should we be concerned about the high number of contracts awarded to companies with links to a religious group?
In October, @allthecitizens reported on contracts relating to the Conservative-linked religious group. We said then the total amount accrued by the network and its associated companies sat at over £951 million.
Read 58 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!