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Border-defying change: February 20-26 on openDemocracy

Crossing borders is never made easy. It can be made dramatic, as
Orson Wells does in the opening sequence of Touch of Evil, a film that Salik Shah would never have had access to had it not been for technology - torrent networks - and piracy. Understand that piracy is not just middle class teens ripping Lady Gaga. It's also a way for culture to cross borders where people still find it too hard to do so.

5 March 2012

But culture doesn't always travel so well across borders - or at least it depends how the border transforms it. David Elstein, possibly the most knowledgeable critic of the TC Series "Law and Order" you'll ever read, provides a masterly micro-comparison of two episodes - one the London remake of the other, the New York original. So why exactly is the original so much better? Discover the filmic and social layers as they're peeled away by the critic.

Cultural border-crossings criss-cross Anita Desai's stories about India - language, metropolitan/rural, traditional/modernising James Warner understands the political allegories of her tales, but even more, he tunes in to Desai's description of the delicate, private and secretive attempt by the writer to create meaning. The border between self and other can be so creative.

Jenny Allsop reviews a Tate Britain exhibition that considers the impact of immigrants on British Art. Border crossings from those of Van Dyck to the 1980s experiences of black artists like Sonia Boyce all tell the important story of Britain as a place of refuge - however imperfect. And it goes the other way around too, argues Allsop, "without migrants’ contributions, Britain’s artistic heritage would paint a sorry picture."

Rosemary Bechler tries to explain what is a "transnational idea of Europe" and how we might get there - a 'subterranean politics' that brings together European democratic forces across the borders that the old political class has no real interest in dissolving.

And what, in all this border-defying change, to make of the digital realm Is it the old tricks of bricks and mortar entrapment, in virtualised clothes, with digital goodies produced by free labour and monetised by sharks? If the possibility still remains of the digital becoming a liberating technology, is it through the sorts of tools and uses that Anonymous master?

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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