Google in China

26 January 2006

I got to do my first radio appearance yesterday, after Google's announcement that it would conform to Chinese censorship laws and host servers in China for its new google.cn service. You can listen to it here, courtesy of the BBC, until 1 Feb.

Why does a radio rookie (with a voice like a school girl) get to go on Radio 4's flagship PM programme? Mainly thanks to a piece I published early last year, which predicts the move and talks about its ramifications. For a less dire view, read Giovanni Navarria's excellent response. For a good overview of the fastest growing company in the world, read John Lancaster in today's issue of the UK Guardian, and as usual, Metafilter takes the thread and runs with it.

I'm still gathering my thoughts - expect a Virtual Reality Google special on Tuesday. 

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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