Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

Matt Hancock
What has he got to hide? | Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/PA Images. All rights reserved.

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret data deals NHS England has struck with private companies, to deliver the 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 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 – as requested by journalists at openDemocracy and by Foxglove, the tech justice organisation.

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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