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The dynamics of denial

19 April 2005
Tom Burke of E3G has spent years observing government, industry and others at close quarters. He defines "the dynamics of denial" like this:

There isn’t a problem.

Well, there may be a problem, but we don’t know enough to do anything about it.

OK, there is a problem, but we still don’t know enough to do anything about it.

There is a problem, but it will cost too much to do anything about it.

There is a problem, but it will be cheaper to solve it later.

There is a problem, but someone else should do something about it first.

There is a problem, but the government should do something about it.

There is a problem, but we can’t do anything about it until everyone does something about it.

There is a problem but we need to form a partnership of government, business and the NGOs to do something about it.

There is a problem but it is too late to do anything about it.

Caspar Henderson

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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