openDemocracyUK

Making good society

Guy Aitchison
20 March 2010

Civil society is on the cusp of remarkable change. In its report, Making good society, the independent Commission of Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society in the UK and Ireland states that it is impossible to imagine plausible responses to the greatest challenges of our time – including political distrust, economic crisis and climate change – without significant input from civil society.

The Commission identifies four critical areas in which civil society activity is necessary to make good society. Over the last week, oD has featured articles by key commissioners laying out their arguments for raising this call for a radical devolution of power and active voice from parliament to the workplace and the family:

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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