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Don't MissMy Corona

NHS gives its data away to some dodgy orgs

Jason Norwood-Young
Jason Norwood-Young
2020-06-05

The Coronavirus has given the NHS the excuse to give its data to private firms to play with. One firm that is helping them — out of the goodness of its black heart — is Palantir, the CIA-funded group that helped Trump steal an election, used data to sniff out illegal immigrants for ICE, and did a lot of dark stuff with the CIA and FBI in Afghanistan and Iraq. They’ve committed 45 engineers to the project, for the princely sum of £1. As the old adage states, if you’re not paying for the product, you ARE the product.

Palantir — founded by Peter Thiel, who doesn’t think freedom is compatible with democracy — is joined by Microsoft, Google, and Faculty, an AI firm that helped the Brexit Leave campaign, and has miraculously scored massive government contracts since then. All in all a fairly controversial bunch to get the motherload of the UK’s most personal data, with no clarity on the rules governing their handling of that data.

Richard Gizbert sums it up on his show Listening Post on Al Jazeerah, and he notes that the UK government has refused to reveal the contractual terms. Apparently, the government is ignoring FOI requests because it wants to protect the business interests of the companies. Oh, the irony is thick on this one.

Jason Norwood-Young
  • Journalist, developer, community builder, newsletter creator and international man of mystery, Jason was one of the first South Africans to really grasp the importance of data in the newsroom and has remained one step ahead of the trends in the field all the way. Even Naked Data was conceived before email newsletters were cool again. But what does that tell you about the measure of the man? Nothing, that's what. He hides the superman CV behind a truly mild-mannered and overly modest persona and is best described as "one of the nicest guys in the business". When he's angry, it is righteously so, and his anger always wears velvet mittens. The true signs of his genius include the ability to create multilingual puns on demand (witness the alternative Naked Data strap "Putting the heita in to data") and the fact that he offered me a job. (AO)

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