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How can we have openness and security? March 19 - 25 on openDemocracy

“How can we have openness and security?” asks our freshly expanded openSecurity.

25 March 2012

One of its new debates Peacebuilding: southern perspectives was immediately swept up in the furore over the #Kony2012 video. 35,000 readers turned to Kennedy Tumutegyereize’s painstaking response: he shows that ending the violence and insecurity of the Lord's Resistance Army demands local solutions not US military advisers in northern Uganda. Its second debate, Beyond Enemy Images, also launches in a gripping week, as the Toulouse shootings shine a media spotlight on the Muslim as hostile Other, a theme visited in various ways by Sunder KatwalaAli KhanFahad Ansari and Wasseem El Sarraj. 

In a devastating double feature, Iraqi specialists Toby Dodge andCharles Tripp tell us what has happened to Iraq: while in Egypt, 50.50 writer Leila Zaki Chakravarti sets out a cultural reading of the football carnage at Port Said in February and is joined by Ahmed Badawi’s two-part exploration of Egypt’s security institutions and conspiracy thinking as method.

The perverse effects of military intervention preoccupy Paul Rogers as he examines the huge loss of life, injury and trillions of dollars wasted in Afghanistan, where the outcome brings the viability of Nato itself into question. Omid Memerian argues that threat of assault on Iran can only concentrate the power of the extreme factions to suppress dissidents and reach out to public opinion in the region; while Madawi al-Rasheed warns that Saudi sponsorship of a Syrian jihad may cause both the Levant and the Arabian peninsula to descend into long civil wars.

openDemocracy often leaves our comfort zones and this week Rebecca Johnson revisits the Fukushima nuclear disaster, its systemic failings, inadequate technical and emergency back-ups, bureaucratic complacency and weak regulation. Is the British Kingdom any better than Japan? Andrew Robertson discovers just how many members' of the House of Lords' have a direct financial interest in the marketisation of the public health service they recently enacted. Siddharta Swapan Roy on openIndia accuses India’s anti-corruption movement of not getting its hands dirty enough: it should be the alternative, not just pose it. And Heather McRobie welcomes a resurgent feminist art, only to ask herself if “all this dressing up”, as the female artists' use their own bodies and images in their work, doesn’t become self-defeating?

Many readers were attracted to Brett Scott’s challenge to left-wing critiques of financial meltdown which for all their radicalism seem unable to recognise entrepreneurial creativity.

Three links you may not want to miss:

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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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