Former NHS AI chief joins US spy-tech agency Palantir • The Register

US surveillance-tech provider Palantir has employed a one-time director of AI for NHSX – the previous UK well being service digital company.

Indra Joshi stop her function on the finish of March as NHSX and NHS Digital had been merged into NHS England, a non-departmental authorities physique.

Her arrival at Palantir will increase considerations amongst NHS watchers and privateness campaigners.

Palantir largely carries out info evaluation and processing work for the protection and intelligence communities, usually creating bespoke options reminiscent of digital-profiling instruments for organisations just like the CIA and ICE.

The agency was based by distinguished Donald Trump financier and PayPal investor Peter Thiel.

The firm has offered a knowledge platform for NHS England described as “supporting” the well being service’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In June 2020, the UK authorities printed particulars of Palantir’s contract – together with contracts for Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and UK AI agency Faculty engaged on the identical challenge – simply days after campaigners fired authorized photographs over a scarcity of transparency.

In December 2020, NHS England signed a two-year $29.91 million (£23 million) contract with Palantir, with out scrutiny. In March 2021, the authorities caved at the specter of a judicial evaluate into the deal, making three key concessions, together with an settlement that it might not prolong the spy-tech agency’s function with out consulting the general public.

As director of AI for NHSX, Joshi signed contracts and oversaw a grant scheme to fund tech corporations to develop AI to enhance illness diagnostics, giving corporations entry to NHS affected person datasets, based on Bloomberg.

Her arrival at Palantir coincides with NHS England’s procurement of a $309 million (£240 million) knowledge platform to assist in the reorganization of the well being service and COVID-related backlog.

The “Federated Data Platform” can be “an essential enabler to transformational improvements across the NHS,” based on the tender discover. The well being service in England, which spends round $176 billion (£136 billion) yearly, is in the course of a transition to Integrated Care Systems and trying to recuperate from a six-million-patient backlog following the pandemic.

The procurement is in its early phases and a contract discover is predicted to be printed in June.

Joshi left the NHS on March 31 however NHS pointers forestall former staff from lobbying or recruiting outdated colleagues for six months after becoming a member of the personal sector.

A Palantir spokesman mentioned: “Palantir hires the very best and brightest folks from private and non-private sector organisations around the globe. We are delighted that Indra has agreed to affix the staff, which we’re aiming to develop by 250 within the UK this 12 months.

“Indra has in depth expertise of cutting-edge applied sciences and their real-world utility. She has helped lead requirements and finest follow in knowledge and AI governance with each the UK and worldwide our bodies. Indra will work with Palantir’s many shoppers to assist enhance their operations and remodel their companies.

“We are proud of the work we have done with NHS over the last two years in response to the COVID-19 crisis, which included helping to power the NHS’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.”

An NHS spokesperson mentioned: “All our employees are contractually required to follow strict post-employment restrictions, which includes them not being permitted for six months to lobby or influence for a new employer.” ®

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