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Apathy, activism and addiction – The Week in 1 Minute: January 13 – 19 on openDemocracy

This week, we launch our series on the EU elections, kicking off by introducing our bloggers responding to the question, What does it mean to be young and European in 2014? There are perspectives on the European Greens from the leader in England and Wales, on apathy in France, and we ask why Germany is sleepwalking, while Greece turns against the union. Meanwhile, Bulgaria's protest movement may oust the government.

19 January 2014

Britain, meanwhile, is busy lobbying against European legislation to curb gambling on food prices. Will the lords stop the controversial lobbying bill, deemed unfit to prevent the underhand practices described here by Tamasin Cave of Spinwatch?

Elsewhere, the story of a young Asian man attacked by police points to a hardening state. But what do we mean when we say 'Britain'? Adam Ramsay takes us through the many parliaments of the North Atlantic archipelago.

Local surveillance, it turns out, is just as important as the NSA. Brazil is fighting back against online spying, while Britain keeps tabs on anti-racist campaigners. Surveillance on undocumented migrants, we hear, is not the answer. Neither is leaving an old man to die in handcuffs, as Clare Sambrook reports in the UK.

Egyptians vote on their second constitutional referendum since the revolution, but is the west listening to people power? And could the potential election of General El Sisi re-vivify the revolution? Paul Rogers finds a glimmer of hope in the conflict in Syria, which is engulfing Lebanon and altering the foreign policy and soft power of Iran. Meanwhile, in Turkey, it may be the end-game for Erdogan, while the rule of law can no longer be trusted. In Bahrain, an anti-corruption effort attracts serious threats.

A young Thai activist reflects on the protests. We interview Wang Hui, luminary of the Chinese New Left, on the cultural revolution and labour unrest. In Russia, the labour movement is growing in importance as trade unions are no longer tied to the state. And the world should be watching India’s new Aam Aadmi party.

We also hear from the 'Robin Hood' of the anti-austerity movement, and from a feminist working with a prisoner who murdered his wife. An exhibition gets Jeremy Fox reflecting on artists and honours. A former drug "addict" dissects what that word really means, and we hear how a US reality TV star’s homophobia defied the teachings of Christ. Finally, the story of a Ghanian deported from Japan, leaving his widow behind, tells us about that state’s approach to intimacy.

 

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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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