openDemocracyUK

The Networked Society: OurKingdom joins the conversation

The world is only now waking up to the radically transformative potential of the network. Our ability to reflect and evaluate on such 'revolutionary' change is struggling to keep pace with the technology itself. The OurKingdom debate on the networked society aims to have a place at the forefront of this struggle.
Aaron Bastani Niki Seth-Smith
24 March 2011
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...nodes, memes, code and viruses... the language of the network is familiar to many but the world is only now waking up to its potential to radically transform the ways in which we communicate, coordinate, deliberate and organise. Sceptics, previously inclined to dismiss the revolutionary nature of online coordination and the birth of open source politics as over-hyped have been back-peddling fast in light of recent events. In the UK, the student and anti-cuts movements have demonstrated the power of networks to facilitate activism, dissent and resistance on a large scale and in radically new forms. Elsewhere events in North Africa and the Middle East have decisively illustrated that online networks have a crucial role to play in bringing about genuine political change.

Yet, while around 460K people are joining Twitter every day, our ability to reflect and evaluate on such 'revolutionary' change is struggling to keep pace with the technology itself. The OurKingdom debate on the networked society aims to have a place at the forefront of this struggle, with a particular focus on Britain.

The debate will launch with an article by Joss Hands, author of "@ is for Activism". 

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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