No Palantir in Our NHS
Foxglove has teamed up with over 50 healthcare, human rights, anti-racist and anti-privatisation organisations and we’ve launched a new campaign. Together, we’re calling for an end to Palantir’s involvement in the NHS and for the health service to consult on alternatives ways to develop its ability to handle data, which respects patients and protects our public NHS.
The campaign launched with a “No Palantir” pledge signed by all the partner organisations and a public petition. Both can be seen at the brand new campaign website: https://nopalantir.org.uk/
We kicked off with a launch rally last night, if you missed it you can catch up here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEpYoVaP9e4
Palantir is a huge US technology corporation headquartered in Colorado. It was founded in 2003 by a Silicon Valley billionaire called Peter Thiel who spent over $1 million to help elect Donald Trump. Thiel is Palantir’s chairman and thought to be its largest shareholder.
Originally funded by the CIA, Palantir’s core business is providing big data and surveillance support to military, security, intelligence and police agencies. Its clients include the US military, the US National Security Agency (NSA), the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency and various US police forces. In 2020 it won a contract from the UK Home Office as part of the UK’s post-Brexit border enforcement.
Palantir has no track record in healthcare but has identified health data services as a target market. The NHS, with its global reputation, taxpayer funding, and unusually comprehensive datasets, was identified as a particularly lucrative target and Palantir has been wooing NHS bosses over cocktails for some time.
Foxglove, with partners openDemocracy, has been challenging Palantir’s role in the NHS since their first contract was revealed. However, whilst our legal challenges with openDemocracy forced important changes, we know that safeguarding our NHS from companies like Palantir will take all of us coming together.
As Aneurin Bevan MP, the politician who led the creation of the NHS, once said: “The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with faith to fight for it.” The No Palantir campaign brings together a wide range of organisations and individuals with the faith and determination to speak out.
We could make the next chapter of NHS history a story of using our collective health data for collective good. We could give patients a say in how data is used and how their privacy should be respected. We could build up the capacity of trusted NHS staff to use data well, improve the NHS’s own data infrastructure and avoid over-dependency on private companies.
But that’s not how Big Tech companies like Palantir want the story to go. And it’s not how Health Secretary Sajid Javid seems to want it to go either. Join the No Palantir campaign today and help spread the word!