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UK: Palantir 'very troubling choice' for NHS contract given links to serious human rights abuses

Responding to reports that controversial US technology firm Palantir has been given a £480m joint-contract to operate the NHS’s new “federated data platform” Peter Frankental, Amnesty International UK’s Business and Human Rights Director, said:

“Palantir is a very troubling choice of service provider for the NHS given the human rights controversies surrounding the company.

“This is not the first hefty contract we’ve seen awarded to Palantir by the Government, which also granted Palantir unprecedented access to the public’s health data records over the course of the pandemic through large NHS tech contracts.

“There needs to be proper transparency over how these contracts are awarded, particularly in this case given the huge implications for data protection.

“The public has a right to know what sort of company is being invited in to provide these vital services, and what precisely they intend to do with the data they’re accessing.

“Any NHS public procurement tenderers whose activities have been linked to serious human rights abuses - as is the case with Palantir - should be excluded on grounds of ‘grave professional misconduct’ as permitted under procurement law.

“Palantir should be required to give cast iron guarantees that they won’t monetise health data collected from the NHS, as this would have serious implications for our rights to privacy.

“The public who rely on the NHS need to have confidence that their informed consent will be obtained at all stages of data gathering, and assurance that their personal information won’t be harvested by Palantir for purposes that have little to do with their health.”

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