The UK government is retracing its steps on a data-sharing agreement with the US tech firm Palantir (PLTR). Following criticism from privacy groups about a lack of transparency, the Department of Health and Social Care was forced to end its contract with Palantir and switch to a new system called Edge. The lack of transparency regarded how contracts were awarded to Palantir and how the US data giant handled personal information.
The NHS allowed Palantir to access sensitive data of patients, even though the agreement stated that all personal information should have been either stripped of personal identifiers or aggregated before being shared with the US company.
why it matters
The UK government has been under severe scrutiny for violating EU's GDPR laws during the Covid-19 pandemic. On a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday, former senior government advisor Dominic Cummings admitted to ignoring EU data protection laws to better coordinate the country's response to the virus. We may see other cases similar to Palantir going forward.