Register for the WSF in Karachi now

17 February 2006

Now's the time to sign up for the third stage of the polycentric World Social Forum in Karachi, Pakistan. The deadline is February 28th, and the Forum will be held from the 24-29th of March, 2006.

The Pakistan WSF was originally meant to happen at the same time as those in Mali and Venezuela, but the earthquake and subsequent humanitarian crisis sucked up all the funding the event could have hoped to attract. One of the Karachi organisers explained the situation at the WSF in Venezuela, and also said he on one level was happy for the extra time, because some of the women's groups felt they had been slighted and no longer wished to participate. He hoped to negotiate peace with them.

When the original organisers of the WSF decided on Porto Alegre, it was because it was a city of hope and economic alternatives. Their participatory local budget was an inspiration to Forum activists. Later, as the Forum has grown, the relationship to place is sometimes inversed and it seems organisers now hope activists might bring inspiration to the location instead. Pakistan is a dictatorship and women's rights are tread on heavily there. How will Karachi respond to the Forum? In Venezuela, the Karachi organiser said one of their biggest problems was getting the government to accept visa applications from activists from India.

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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