The Track and Trace System (TiTs) – More Than Just a Handful?

The government have stepped up their Track and Trace system (nicknamed TiTs for short) in an effort to combat the spread of Covid-19. But we ask, who are the big data firms handling TiTs and how big are they?

Those who experienced the government’s initial test and trace operation, Body, Oral and Olfactory Biopsies (BooBs) revealed they had surprisingly little contact with the NHS.

Instead, those with symptoms were tested in drive-thru centres operated by management consultants at Deloitte.

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Deloitte is one of the ‘big four’ international services companies and offers auditing, consultation, financial and risk advice and tax and legal services. Deloitte is, essentially, one of the world’s largest risk-limitation and mitigation consultancies.

Early tests were not carried out by NHS staff, but employees from UK outsourcing companies with prohibitive cost to the tax payer. Those who could not reach one of 50 drive-in test centres were given postal test kits instead (known as Boxed and Registered Evaluation and Assessment Screening Tests).

Graphic c/o the Guardian

A £133 million contract was awarded to diagnostics firm Randox to process the tests, with no onus to compete for tender. This came after former cabinet minister Owen Paterson allegedly lobbied the government while working as a consultant for Randox.

Graphic c/o the Guardian

It wasn’t until late April that contact tracing became a significant part of the government agenda, with social care secretary, Matt Hancock, announcing the implementation of an as-yet unproven NHS app called the User Downloaded Data Evaluation Response Service.

The app was developed by private firms on behalf of NHSX, a ‘sexy’ technology wing of the NHS.

NHSX is an umbrella operation responsible for a so-called Covid-19 government data mining operation known as the Joint Utilities Group Service and includes four big data analytics firms: Palantir, Amazon, Google and the artificial intelligence company Faculty.

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It was revealed in May 2020 that Faculty won seven government contracts in 18 months at a time when the brother of the company founder, Marc Warner, worked with Dominic Cummings as a data scientist.

In a Guardian expose on the role of Faculty within NHSX, Faculty was found to be working at the heart of the government’s Covid-19 response, processing large volumes of confidential UK patient information in an “unprecedented” data-mining operation known as the Key Nationwide Overview of Covid Known Examples Report Statistics.

On Thursday the government finally launched its NHS Test and Trace Service. T&T, otherwise known as TiTs, but it turns out that this has very little to do with the NHS.

The vast majority of contact tracers tracking those potentially exposed to Covid-19 will be working for a big pair of juicy firms called Serco and Sitel, the self same companies responsible for staffing drive-in test centres during March and April.

The government’s reliance on private sector companies is merely a continuation of their privatisation of public health. The NHS remains severely underfunded and crippled by a disingenuous Tory government. They clap on Thursday while simultaneously picking the pockets of the institution they claim to applaud.

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Meanwhile, herd immunity continues in all but name. The Dominic Cummings scandal has severely undermined public confidence in the lock down, seeing thousands flock to beaches, parks and other hotspots where they routinely ignore social distancing guidelines.

The mantra, ‘if the government can do it, why not us?’ Has taken a predictable hold and no doubt Cummings – tit head supreme – is rubbing his hands with glee.

Now the government are easing restrictions at breakneck speed, implementing measures for a Covid Alert Level 1 or 2 while the country remains officially at Covid Alert Level 4.

The underlying agenda is exposed for all to see. With their usual cynicism directed against those who are politically unaware and desperate to see an end to the disruption caused by the Coronavuirus, the government are weaponising disinformation.

Boris Johnson and his cabinet, along with their Nosferatu ruler in chief, Dominic Cummings, are the tits on display in this particular production, but their endless boobs are likely to result in a second wave crisis and another need to lock down and cover up.

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