US scientists says diversion of epidemiological data to Palantir hinders public health goals


US epidemiologists are complaining that secrecy is interfering with public health efforts to curb the coronavirus. Beginning in April, California state and county health authorities have refused requests from scientists from Stanford University and several University of California campuses for detailed COVID-19 and contact tracing data for research they hope will find more effective approaches to slowing the epidemic. The agencies have cited reasons such as workload constraints and privacy concerns even though health privacy rules have been relaxed for research during the pandemic. Similar problems have been found in other states, with the result that the necessary basic epidemiology is not taking place that would permit more strategic interventions than full-scale lockdowns. Researchers are particularly upset to discover that recent news reports have discovered that the data they seek are being fed to Palantir under a federal contract for its HHS Protect data platform.

Writer: Charles Piller
Publication: Science