Logging on

25 January 2005

This is Caspar logging on from Porto Alegre.  Beautiful warm sunshine. A fresh breeze coming off the wide wide river. One hundred thousand people or more getting together for the fifth annual alter-globalisation jamboree.

To set the scene, openDemocracy has already published a couple of articles by people who in different ways are close to the forum.

The Argentinian activist Ezequiel Adamovsky has been involved in radical campaigning at the WSF, his native Argentina and beyond for some years. He argues the case for "institutions of a new type"

Vince Madeiros is a Porto Alegre local. He examines how some mainstream English language print media - The Guardian, The Financial Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal - has covered previous social forums here.

So what is the whole thing about?  If I knew that I wouldn't be here. For some context you can see what I wrote about last years WSF in Mumbai.

Solana Larsen, James Crabtree and others including me will be logging on with more updates over the coming days.

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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