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A note about comments to the blog

22 December 2005

Some technical news. We are having trouble with the comments function on this blog. At present it is unmoderated, which means anyone can post a comment, anonymously, any time. Unfortunately this also allows "spammers" to automatically post large amounts of irrelevant material into this space, making the blog - and the openDemocracy site as a whole - unstable. So to prevent the site crashing, we are closing the comments temporarily, until we can reinstate them with pre-moderation, which will require comments to be approved before they appear, and thus stem the flow of spam.

Comments will be back in the new year - apologies to those of you who were hoping to read or make them before then.

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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