Open invite - March 15, New York

18 February 2005

For the past year or so, openDemocracy's New York office has be co-sponsoring events with the New York Society for Ethical Culture.

If you happen to be in New York, you should join us for a debate on the merits and de-merits of privatising social security, on 15 March at 7:30-8pm with author and columnist Paul Krugman, Michael Tanner (from The Cato Institute, and one of the architects  of Bush's current social security plans), and Joshua Micah Marshall from TalkingPointsMemo.com.

It's free to the public, and the auditorium seats about 800, but I recommend coming early. At the last event we turned several hundred people away for lack of space. The address is New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W 64th Street, New York, NY (on the corner of Central Park West).

We held the last event just after the US presidential election with Richard Clarke, America's former counter-terrorism advisor, Amy Goodman, radio host of Democracy Now!, Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, and Esther Kaplan, author of With God on Their Side. Have a look at the webcast of the complete event (ooh, video). Clarke says may things about US national security (and nuclear threats) that are just as relevant today.

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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