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"7/11" emphasises solidarity on the Web.

13 January 1970
A couple of hours after the London bombings on 7 July 2005 a great number of self edited webpages - individual and corporate blogs alike - appeared on the Internet. They acted as newswires updated in real-time, hubs for information and contacts, or platforms on which people could post their pictures and first-person accounts.

This week's terrible events in the 17-million metropolis of Mumbai triggered a similar response from bloggers and internet users. Blogs such as MumbaiHelp (which was created shortly after the 2005 Tsunami) have proven to be incredibly helpful for dozens of people looking to hear from or contact their loved ones. Both Wikipages and wikinews pages, updated regularly during the day, were invaluable for those wanting to follow the news as it happened. New forms of solidarity are being brought to life by new technologies.

Several blogs accomplished just the same goal by connecting people to one another and providing a space for discussion where people can seek answers to difficult questions. Mumbai-based Ultrabrown and Sepia Mutiny’s "7/11" entries offered extensive and frequent updates which were widely picked up (the latter received more than 280 compassionate, desolate and often angry comments). Elsewhere, someone noted that the citizens who witnessed the blasts were the first ones to generate proper news content used by the corporate, traditional media sources: “they had a number for people to MMS images and video from the scene, so the first images [I saw] were video from camera phones.”

These new forms of networking are progressively changing the way people apprehend both news-making and crisis management. If 11 July will be painfully remembered as a day when despicable violence was inflicted on innocent civilians, it could also be remembered as a day when millions of internet users worldwide witnessed solidarity in action – a resonant ‘no’ to violence and terrorism.

Elsewhere: Global Voices’ round up of blogs on the Mumbai’s blasts. India Uncut and Pajamas Media both offer an impressive collection of related links.

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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