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Debating our debate

24 October 2005
Marc Schulman's blog on the article I wrote with our Editor Isabel Hilton misses most of the points despite generous quotations - thanks for them. Solana linked to it below. It is far too defensive. A huge debate is finally opening up in the United States about the dangers of the way it is seeking to impose democracy, and it is not 'anti-American' to make these points just because one is not American. As for the leadership of the anti-war demonstrations, I agree. We refer to the exceptional size and genuine character of the popular feeling against President Bush's war of choice. Alas, the leadership of the organisations that called them were there because they opposed the war in Afghanistan. In my view, their sectarianism ensured that there was no popular, or democratic follow-through. There is a good discussion about this in Todd Gitlin's blog at TPM cafe.

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.


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