The Coast Guard teams up with Palantir to aid its COVID-19 response

The force joins the CDC and NHS in using the tech for something other than tracking undocumented immigrants.

Bob Riha Jr/Archive Photos/Getty Images

The U.S. Coast Guard is using Palantir’s data-harvesting tech to aid in its pandemic response “readiness,” according to Forbes. Ships of any size, but particularly cruise ships, are proving to be petri dishes where coronavirus can thrive. Federal procurement records show a modest $11,250 allocated for the order, but the terms indicate a wider breadth of work with Palantir.

Though Palantir’s work with ICE and its co-founder Peter Thiel may inspire an involuntary shudder, the company is already working with the CDC and the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) to assess hospital data.

This is … good? — Palantir is no stranger to working with federal agencies, domestically and internationally. It’s famous for helping track undocumented immigrants and is a regular contractor for U.S. military and law enforcement branches. Lately, however, Palantir’s focus rests squarely on assisting pandemic response and its technology is currently working with more than a dozen governments.

The Coast Guard has offloaded hundreds of thousands of cruise ship passengers in collaboration with the CDC. Data from this work could better supplement the information the CDC has access to.

Anything can happen in a pandemic — In March, Big Tech players were in talks with the government and health experts about the best way to aid pandemic response and tracking efforts. Palantir being a good actor in this situation is just as surprising as Google and Apple working together, but it doesn’t make either action less valuable during this unprecedented phenomenon.