UK government could face legal action over huge secret health database
Lawyers acting on behalf of openDemocracy have written to the UK government to demand transparency on a massive health database that activists say could break legal promises made regarding the use of public health data after the pandemic .
Privacy activists have expressed growing concerns over the role of private sector companies in UK health data.
Last month, the government ended a controversial deal to manage adult welfare data with US “spy technology” company Palantir.
Rather, that data should be kept in a new system called Edge, which will be managed internally by the Department of Health and Welfare – but built by UK defense contractor BAE Systems.
openDemocracy, backed by legal activists Foxglove, has now written to Health Secretary Sajid Javid asking him to explain more clearly what the BAE system is for and to what extent other private companies will be involved in its implementation. place, use and processing of sensitive personal data.
Only “emergency” data relating to COVID-19 is supposed to be transferred to the new system, but concerns have been expressed that the information could be used for purposes unrelated to the pandemic.
Foxglove Director Cori Crider said: “The government has promised Palantir’s huge database will not be extended beyond the pandemic without speaking to people.
“Now we learn that there is another huge health database called Edge that the arms company BAE was somehow involved in and could be adapted for post-pandemic use.”
It is incumbent on the government to explain “how these measures stay true to the promises made to openDemocracy,” Crider added.