Madrid Summit and democracy

8 March 2005

While we wait for the blogging to start from Madrid, here' a ringing word of encouragement from Policybusters.com in the United States. Hope we meet the challenge:

"Whatever the results of the Madrid Summit, Bill Thompson and OpenDemocracy have provided a valuable example of the way such on-line forums can work to challenge future international summits to be more open to real democratic interchange. But in order to build on this experiment in Open Democracy, I hope the members of OpenDemocracy involved in the Summit will take up the democratic challenge of being anthropological participant observers of the micropolitics of the Summit events this week. And I hope all participants will think about what we can learn from what did and did not happen at this Summit to make future international policymaking Summits more truly democratic in both their process and their results--"

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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