Last out of the box: hope

30 January 2005

So as not to end on a sour note, here are two things. 

First, an "instant memory" site - under construction but open for business soon. Consider: the people at the forum are looking for autonomy and freedom - goals that are no less worthy for them than they are for the rich and privileged.

Second, a scene late this afternoon at the India House (built to celebrate achievements of last year's WSF in Mumbai). As the session wound down, Indian and Brazilian delegates danced together and were very happy. Brazilian and Indian rhythms together.  On the wall to one side, Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world is not broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from depths of truth
Where tireless striving stretches for perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary sand of tired habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever widening thought and act
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father
Let my country awake.

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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