Walking the walk, talking the talk

26 January 2005

We’re all a bit sunburnt after today’s opening march. It was big. It was loud. And fun to check out people’s badges: everyone has an orange tag around their neck that says who they are and where they come from. Mine says openDemocracy. Here are a few pictures from the march (click on them to make them a little bigger):

At the march I met Lee Yong Sik, who is president of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. He was standing with a bunch of Korean Metalworkers. I asked him if they would ever have “a Lula” in Korea, and he predicted it would happen in 8-10 years if they worked hard. And he said he would grant me an interview when he becomes president. “I won’t forget,” he said. Good.
In case Paul Kingsnorth is reading this: after reading his article on the European Social Forum in London, all the Che Guevara t-shirts here remind me of him. And I am excited Manu Chao is playing a little concert tonight.

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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