Editor’s blog: a conversation about the future with Greg Dyke

ourBeeb's editor looks back at a fascinating day of discussion with the ourBeeb Steering Group, and a 90 minute discussion with former DG Greg Dyke exclusive to oB.

Dan Hancox
23 May 2012

Yesterday saw the inaugural ourBeeb Steering Group meeting with our new partners in King’s College London's Department of English. The discussion was intense and wide-ranging, and we packed as much as we possibly could into an hour, covering government interference, the thorny issue of how to fund the BBC, the Beeb’s cultural role past and present, internal BBC democracy, how viewing habits are changing, accusations of bias (and how to prove them), ‘experts’, HBO and subscriptions, public interest journalism, diversity, citizen journalism, and much more. The fruits of this meeting will be the debates on ourBeeb in the coming weeks – and we’d love you to get in touch with suggested contributions, on the above or any other aspect of your BBC: [email protected]

After this meeting we moved to KCL's Council Room, where Greg Dyke joined us at the round table for a thrilling hour and a half of ‘giving evidence’ to the Steering Group, along with some KCL staff and students and members of the media. This first of our Leveson-style hearings on the future of the BBC, and a great opportunity to follow up on Greg’s scintillating ‘Change or Die’ essay, which launched ourBeeb last week. It was a conversation about the future, in which (often equally experienced) members of the Steering Group grappled with Greg, who was on robust form as ever, especially when talking about what the BBC’s attempt to be 'universal' means in a fragmented marketplace. He also projected internet TV could be the Beeb’s saving grace, and candidly warned that the BBC is in a state of “managed decline”. The highlights of his 90 minutes of evidence will be available to watch on ourBeeb in the next few days – stay tuned!

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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