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5 April 2005

Surely, it's only a matter of time now before someone sets up a website that lets you vote online for the next pope. There have been quite a few articles on how the next pope needs to be hip to technology and new media, and certainly the old pope blessed the internet and was an early adaptor - the Vatican has had a website since 1999. In these past days, journalists were informed of the Pope's health and eventual passing by official Vatican SMS messages.

On 3QuarksDaily a reader suggests a wiki with information about each candidate, and a feedback system that helps the 117 cardinals come to a decision. e-Democracy meets the Catholic church. "Do we even need the Church or can we DIY this?" asks Cory Doctorow on BoingBoing. It may seem silly now, but I sincerely believe this will happen someday. How else would you poll 1 billion Catholics around the world? The difficult part is getting the Church to care what they think in the first place.

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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