Palantir, a U.S.-based data analytics company, had its software being used across England’s National Health Service to track emergency room capacity and direct supplies of scarce equipment during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This gave it huge gains in government health contracts, The Wall Street Journal reported Sept. 29.

During that time, Palantir only charged the government one pound for its services, and since then, the company has “parlayed the work into more than £60 million in government health contracts,” according to the publication. 

Now, Palantir is competing for a seven-year contract worth up to £480 million — about $590 million — to overhaul N.H.S. England’s outdated patient data system. 

The winning bid, expected to be announced in October, “would create one of the largest repositories of health data in the world and make the company a key partner in modernizing the health system,” according to the Journal

This has raised concerns for civil society groups who say single private companies should not be handling personal data, especially since Palantir’s software has been accused of being able to be used for mass surveillance. 

According to the publication, Palantir’s software was used during the Trump administration to help the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency find undocumented immigrants.

The company has also been accused of enlisting political figures, senior health executives and multiple consulting firms for lobbying purposes, according to interviews with N.H.S. officials, industry insiders and people involved in Palantir’s operations. 

Palantir enlisted N.H.S. England’s deputy director of data services and its artificial intelligence director after requests for proposals were sought for a £480 million contract in 2022.

“​​Palantir’s extensive lobbying efforts in the U.K. are an obvious attempt to whitewash their background at the heart of the world of espionage — with all its implications for ethical behavior and lack of transparency,” David Davis, a Conservative member of Parliament, told The New York Times.

Palantir declined to comment on its bid to the Journal.

The company did defend the quality of its work and told the publication, “We are now helping to reduce the N.H.S. backlog, cut the amount of time nurses and physicians need to spend on administrative tasks and speed up cancer diagnosis — all while rigorously protecting data privacy.”

Palantir currently has a market value of more than $30 billion, and works with hospitals and health systems such as Cleveland Clinic and Tampa (Fla.) General Hospital. 


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