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Anthony Barnett
Anthony Barnett
2 November 2010

There's a strong interview with Robert Reich in Spiegel online, here is their opening question and his answer:
  The US goes to the polls on Tuesday for critical mid-term elections. It is a difficult time for the country -- you have said it is facing a "perfect storm." What do you mean by that?

Reich: First, we have got an unprecedented degree of concentrated income and wealth at the very top of our society. The top one-tenth of one percent of Americans now makes more than the bottom 120 million. Secondly, courtesy of a grotesque opinion by the Supreme Court of the United States, we now have virtually unlimited money flowing from the rich and from corporations through secret devices that make it impossible to know who is contributing what to various campaigns and to advertising for and against various candidates. Such anonymous groups have spent more than $400 million on the latest election, according to estimates. And finally, we have a broad electorate still unemployed or in danger of being unemployed, still in danger of losing their homes or already having lost their homes, still experiencing a major drop in their savings or their net worth. This frustrated and anxious population is easy prey to demagogues who will blame others for their problems rather than explain what needs to be done.  

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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