A follow-up to Ghazal Tipu's report

Stuart Weir
4 March 2010

OurKingdom's reviews editor responds to the recent post on the sentences received by protesters  against the Gaza war:

Ghazal Tipu's report on the disproportionately severe treatment of young Muslim protesters and the general over-reaction of the authorities demonstrates just what a panic the British state is in over the issue of terrorism and how deeply Islamophobia is seeping into British society. I remember vividly being angered at a RUSI seminar on terrorism by Hazel Blear's rhetorical urging Muslims who objected to the Iraq war to grasp the opportunities that British democracy offered them. I am not sure how many Muslim protesters then lobbied MPs, wrote to newspapers or took to the web, but they sure did turn out on the streets! To no avail as we know. If Britain is ever going to turn young militants away from terrorism, then we must offer those who are repulsed by military adventurism in a war on terror (i.e., Muslim nations) and our queasy support for Israel's oppressions real opportunities to make their voices heard without the heavy-handed policing of their words as well as of their actions. There is a real role here for liberals and democrats too to express solidarity with the majority of decent people in communities that now suffer near blanket disapprobation and who are too often denied a hearing.

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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