Wikipedia for ever

7 March 2005

Solana is right to enthuse about Wikipedia. What it shows is the power of what can be called co-creation.

Co-creation is very different from two things that have grown fast on the web: forums and blogs.

Forums are a kind of live letters page. They contribute to an argument or debate, but often ramble off into semi-private exchanges. Sometimes brilliant, other times unreadable to anyone else, they can be very uneven and time-consuming.

Blogs are multiplying by the thousands, even millions. They are competitive and very individualistic. Even when written jointly like this one, they  strive to make their voice heard, sometimes by SHOUTING or making things up (also known as lying).

Co-creation does something different. The breadth of the web makes it possible for many participants to improve and raise the level of the same shared offering.

Open source paved the way, drawing on technical specialism to protect itself.

Wiki has taken the leap and gone further to ensure unlimited public access. It is an inspiration whose lessons we want to learn and apply to openDemocracy.net.

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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