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Parliamentary questions
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22 December 2020
E-007026/2020
Question for written answer  E-007026/2020
to the Commission
Rule 138
Dimitrios Papadimoulis (The Left), Petros Kokkalis (The Left), Konstantinos Arvanitis (The Left), Stelios Kouloglou (The Left), Elena Kountoura (The Left), Alexis Georgoulis (The Left)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Non-transparent partnership of the Greek Government with Palantir Technologies, a data processing company, to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic

According to a recent news article(1), Palantir Technologies, an American company, has expanded its partnership with the Greek Government to provide assistance in decision-making to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, by making use of the company’s relevant software. This partnership reportedly began in March 2020, without the Greek Government ever disclosing any information about it.

Palantir Technologies provides data processing and mining tools to companies and governments. Many of its partnerships have provoked strong opposition with regard to personal data breaches, e.g. its relationship with Cambridge Analytica, which gained access to the personal information of millions of Facebook users(2), its partnership with President Trump to identify illegal immigrants who were consequently deported(3) and the hitherto unpublished contract with the NHS, which resulted in the collection of a huge amount of sensitive personal data(4).

In view of the above:

1. What is the Commission’s view of the lack of any information about the above partnership, which raises serious questions about possible access to sensitive personal data of Greek citizens?

2. Have similar measures been taken in other Member States and how has compliance with European data protection legislation and the principle of transparency been ensured?

3. What measures does the Commission intend to take to ensure that citizens’ personal data are properly protected when Member States use software and other methods to deal with the pandemic?

(1)https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201207005526/en/?fbclid=IwAR0kzApyCs8S_FSiYvDDWQhPriO3tdWJz4XHacWSNfzjq5IBKf1RAV2iV8c
(2)https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/27/us/cambridge-analytica-palantir.html
(3)https://thenextweb.com/artificial-intelligence/2019/08/12/study-trumps-paid-peter-thiels-palantir-1-5b-so-far-to-build-ices-mass-surveillance-network/ & https://mijente.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Mijente-The-War-Against-Immigrants_-Trumps-Tech-Tools-Powered-by-Palantir_.pdf
(4)https://www.digitalhealth.net/2020/11/data-contracts-with-palantir-risk-undermining-core-values-of-nhs/
Original language of question: EL
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