The disappearance of the outside

16 January 2006

Iran's president Ahmadinejad has stepped up his battle with the outside world yet further. Sunday the AP reported that Iran will host an international conference to examine the "myth" of the Holocaust. (See the openDemocracy articles by Nasrin Alavi and Trita Parsi on the first round in Ahmadinejad's war of words on Israel.) Monday the BBC reported that Iran has banned CNN reporters from the country, on the grounds that the network mistranslated a speech by Ahmadinejad (CNN had issued a correction). Taken on top of the ban on western music announced last month, Iran's deepening self-isolation evokes the  title of Andrei Codrescu's poignant book The Disappearance of the Outside.

Stay tuned over the next two weeks for a series of articles on openDemocracy exploring the current state of affairs both inside Iran and in Iran's relations with the international community.

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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