Londoners KBO

8 July 2005

James Crabtree

I missed Edgware Road station by around only 10 minutes in the morning. Then we couldn't find where my dad was most of the morning. Its terrifying not knowing where your family are; the imagination runs away with reason. But he turned up, found himself stranded in London, and in the end we two walked the three hours to my house. This was heartening. Thousands walked; people offered lifts; water was handed out; people were nice to each other. It gave the first glimpse, I think, of what we must take out of this: the worst things people do bring the best out of people too.  I've come back to my parents in Oxford today; though I went through a fairly eerily empty tube this morning to get here. But there and elsewhere I sensed no great anger. People will not blame Blair, nor ought they. Instead Londoners are resigned, in the best possible way: we are sad, we understand that these things do happen, and we are keen not to let it get in the way of life. Which is the right reaction, to my way of thinking. They got us; but they won't get us down. As Churchill said, we must KBO: “Keep Buggering On”.

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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