Opinion: You snooze (or not) you lose (anyway)

14 June 2005
It is hard for many to even think of voting. Sadly, I can find the above statement true in any combination except the original! Reformists make adorable promises and are trying to tell people that they are now very different and will in fact be more persistent on their reformist demands. In this haphazard campaign where empty promises are a common stock for sale by the candidates, reformists are felt as the most honest - but honesty does not mean capability. The ideas of the reformists are more or less the same as the demands of many people, but a reformist president with good will to change but not enough power to implement it, will make the idea behind reform even lonelier than it is now. This feeling that “you lose anyway” no matter who you vote for is felt by many in Iran for whom the divergence between their thoughts and the way politics work is becoming too wide to be filled.

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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