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22 June 2005

Hossein Derakhshan (aka. Hoder) is a well-known Iranian blogger whose weblog Editor: Myself in Persian attracts thousands of Iranian readers all around the world every day. He also keeps an English weblog by the same title. Originally from Tehran, Hossein Derakhshan moved to Canada in December 2000. Feted by the world press, he has been one of the most vocal activists in support of using technology to promote cultural and political change in Iran. He travels frequently, speaking about Iranian blogs at universities and conferences. Iran Scan was his idea. His first article on openDemocracy was in 2004.

Afshin Molavi is an Iranian-American journalist and author. He is a fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington DC, and is the author of Persian Pilgrimages: Journeys Across Iran. He covered Iran from 1998-2000 for Reuters and the Washington Post and continues to travel regularly to the region. His articles have appeared in the Financial Times, Business Week, openDemocracy, Foreign Affairs, the Christian Science Monitor, Arab News, Gulf News, and Asharq Al-Awsat. He was an Iran studies fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center and has also worked at the International Finance Corporation, and the World Bank.

Mr. Behi is a 27-year old blogger from Tehran. He began blogging under pseudonym in November 2004 on the popular website Adventures of Mr. Behi. He works in the sciences and has always lived in Tehran.

Nema Milaninia is the executive director of the International Students Journal, a bi-lingual (English and Persian) publication in Iran on human rights, international law, economic development, and good governance. He has an MA in international human rights law from the American University in Cairo and is currently pursuing a law degree at Chapman University School of Law in California. Milaninia is also the editor of the blog www.iraniantruth.com

Farideh Nicknazar experienced the revolution but left Iran at the age of 20. She now manages a family business in the US while raising two children. In the past 2 years she has become an avid student (addict!) of Iranian politics, and has helped a non-monarchist Iranian group make contact with the American media.

Trita Parsi is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University‘s School of Advanced International Studies while serving as foreign policy advisor to Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH). His dissertation deals with Israeli-Iranian relations 1969–2005. Mr. Parsi was born in Iran and grew up in Sweden. He is the co-founder and current president of the National Iranian American Council, a non-profit educational organisation promoting Iranian-American participation in American civic life. He writes in a personal capacity.

Laura Rozen is a celebrated journalist and blogger who writes about US national security and foreign policy issues from Washington, DC. Her work has appeared in The Nation, American Prospect, Wired, Salon, Slate, The Economist, Washington Monthly, Tom Paine, and the Boston Globe. Rozen reported from the Balkans for four years, and earned an MA in public administration from Harvard University, with a concentration in international security studies. She has lived in Moscow, Istanbul, Sarajevo, Belgrade, and Kosovo. Her website is www.warandpiece.com

Eli Lake writes about national security for the New York Sun. Before joining the newspaper, he covered the State Department for United Press International. His work has appeared in the New Republic, the Washington Monthly, the Weekly Standard, the National Review, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and the Washington Times.

Piero Ariza is a freelance writer with a keen interest in Iranian politics.

Solana Larsen is openDemocracy's New York editor and administrator of this weblog. If you would like to contact any of the authors, email: [email protected] or call openDemocracy's New York office on +1 646 220 1459.

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.


By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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