In the red corner

12 December 2005

Huddled over an ale with War on Want's crack campaigners in Wan Chai last night, the conversation turned to Peter Mandelson. For all his proclamations of being "passionate about trade justice", the EU's trade commissioner is "knocking six bells" out of developing countries, observed War on Want campaign chief and trade encyclopaedia John Hilary.

Harangued into action by Europe's services lobby, Mandy is pushing for a WTO package that would carve open services markets the world over. Everything from water and transport to energy and education would be fair game, with poor countries required to open services in at least 93 services. All states would also be obliged to up the maximum holding foreign investors are allowed in domestic companies to 51 per cent, effectively declaring the developing world a services Wild West. Genius.

War on Want's own blog, penned by affable spinner John Coventry, can be found here

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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