Palantir, U.K. in Talks to License Software for Covid Tracing

Palantir is in talks to license its software to the U.K. to enable the country to trace covid-19 contact, a media report says.
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Palantir  (PLTR) - Get Report and U.K. officials are in talks to license the data-analytics company's software to help the country's effort to trace covid-19 contact during a second wave of the coronavirus, a media report says.

Sources told the Financial Times that test-and-trace officials in the U.K. government have talked about using Palantir's Foundry software to manage sensitive contact-tracing data.

The aim would be to secure far deeper insights about the way the virus is spreading, so the government can act more quickly.

"The contract would help rationalize the vast trove of information about new virus cases around England, and potentially allow new modeling to track the spread of the disease through particular sectors or parts of the country," the FT reported.

The U.K. has confirmed more than 1 million coronavirus cases and 47,340 people have died from the disease, the latest data from Johns Hopkins show. 

England will be under a second lockdown from Nov. 4. 

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's national testing plan has seen issues of early IT glitches, slow turnaround times for tests, and difficulties in reaching people quickly enough to stop the spread.

Due to an Excel spreadsheet failure, last month, 15,841 positive coronavirus cases could not be immediately contact-traced.

Some officials told the FT that Palantir was already contributing to a test-and-trace study that was tracking the spread of coronavirus in care homes in England. But the firm does not have access to the sensitive personal data of its citizens.

At present NHS Digital, the government's tech arm, works with U.S data firm Splunk  (SPLK) - Get Report to monitor covid-19 testing.

Palantir began trading in the U.S. on Sept. 30, after its initial public offering. 

Shares of Palantir, Denver, at last check were up 2.4% at $10.75. Shares of Splunk, San Francisco, rose 4.3% to $203.05.