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Departure

23 January 2006
We arrive in Caracas tomorrow afternoon. The bridge that connects the airport to the city is crumbling and closed, but we've been reassured that there are WSF shuttle busses. A friend tells me Caracas is so short of beds for the tourists, that the government placed ads in the opposition newspapers saying people should offer their spare rooms for $15 a night. But response has been low, and my friend says the majority of what is available is with the government's own people.

I hope our own housing plans work out, because this correspondent has never felt very comfortable about tents. A friendly Venezuelan from the solidarity housing webpage of the WSF has agreed to collect us at the bus stop of the youth camp. We won't be staying at his house, but he's helped us broker a hotel. Some people were wise enough to book ten hotel rooms in advance of an event that is expected to attract 100,000 foreigners.

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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