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Tech Giant Palantir Building Data Tool to Help US Allocate COVID-19 Vaccines

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By    |   Thursday, 22 October 2020 06:30 PM

Tech giant Palantir is building a data tool to help U.S. officials allocate COVID-19 vaccines, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Palantir, co-founded by Silicon Valley mogul and vocal Trump supporter Peter Thiel, is developing a system named Tiberius after Captain Kirk from the “Star Trek” franchise that will allow health authorities to “integrate a wide range of demographic, employment and public health data sets to identify the location of priority populations” and to “support allocation decision making,” documents obtained by the Journal said.

Tiberius will enable local officials to "proactively identify distribution bottlenecks, inventory constraints, and gaps in administration across key populations," the document said.

Palantir, best known for its work with law enforcement agencies, like Immigration and Customs Enforcement and local police departments, the Department of Defense and the intelligence community, has come under scrutiny over its relationship with ICE as progressive activists and lawmakers have expressed concern that the information collected could be used to expand the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown.

"The inclusion of [Protected Health Information] (PHI) in this database raises serious privacy concerns," lawmakers wrote to HHS in July. "Neither HHS nor Palantir has publicly detailed what it plans to do with this PHI, or what privacy safeguards have been put in place, if any. We are concerned that, without any safeguards, data in HHS Protect could be used by other federal agencies in unexpected, unregulated, and potentially harmful ways, such as in the law and immigration enforcement context." 

So far, Palantir has been awarded contracts worth more than $42 million with federal agencies on the pandemic response, including two contracts worth $24.9 million with the DHS to build a new platform, HHS Protect, which combines, searches and maps scores of datasets on deaths, tests, ventilators, symptoms, masks, local ordinances and more to track the spread of the virus.

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Tech giant Palantir is building a data tool to help U.S. officials allocate COVID-19 vaccines, reports The Wall Street Journal...
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Thursday, 22 October 2020 06:30 PM
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