Little visible civil society presence at UN summit

14 September 2005

From a quick walk around the UN buildings and surronding area, I'd say Solana Larsen is right (see previous post) to say New York is so far underwhelmed by the presence of more world leaders together in one place at the same time since the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 for a summit predicated on "bold reform".

I was quite surprised to see no organised presence on the streets outside by NGOs like Oxfam calling for the UN to meet the Millennium Development Goals (however problematic those goals may be  - see Amir Attaran in the Sep 13 New York Times and this response from Jeffrey Sachs), or even the recommendations of the UN High Level Panel itself.

Indeed, the most conspicuous token of "civil society" presence I have seen so far is a giant poster right pretty much opposite one of the main entrances to the compound advertising brokenpromisesmovie.com . This comes from a group called Citizens United, whose American Sovereignty Project aims for "complete U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations, defeat of the treaty to establish a permanent U.N.-controlled International Criminal Court, and rejection of one-world government".

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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