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Seeing through the smoke (and the smog)

6 April 2005

Back in March, the German news magazine Der Spiegel ran an interview with Pan Yue, deputy director of the State Environmental Protection Administration in the People's Republic of China. As worldchanging.com pointed out at the time, the article was pretty astounding in its frankness.

Well, openDemocracy thought the interview deserved more exposure, so we republished it today. This is the second candid interview we've published in as many days - if you didn't catch Laura Greenhalgh's chat with Brazilian Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns yesterday, give it a look. I find it refreshing to hear people who are so entrenched in institutions I consider utterly opaque speaking their minds.

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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