Home

Listening to the US Attorney General...

10 March 2005

I have just come from listening to His Excellency the new Attorney General of the USA, Alberto Gonzales, speaking to a session at the Madrid summit. The difference of tone between him and most other speakers was striking. All our important speakers are emphasising that fundamental principles of the rule of law and human rights must be safeguarded or the terrorists will win. Mr. Gonzalesview is that in the fight against terrorism we must "seize the initiative in a way that is consistent with the rule of law". Rarely can the word consistent have seemed so miserable and diminished.

Everyone else I have heard speak at the Summit - look at Kofi Annan's speech for a clear example - has gone out of their way to recognise the long list of terrorist outrages from Bali to Bagdhad that have taken place between September 11 and March 11 - except Alberto Gonzales. The words talk about a global struggle, but the world as it is lived seems not to figure in any felt or human way.

He spoke of the need to "fight terrorism and advance freedom so that the world will be more peaceful" but the tone was militaristic, and his conclusion left no room for doubt: "we will not be divided, we will taste victory."

It did not leave a particularly democratic taste in my mouth.

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.

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData