Rights groups question whether plans for NHS data store are ‘appropriate, lawful and just’

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 22 May 2020 in News
News

Signatories including Liberty and Open Knowledge Foundation call for greater transparency

Credit: Michael Mandiberg/CC BY-SA 2.0 

A group of digital rights organisations have expressed concern over plans for a new NHS Covid-19 data store, warning health and social secretary Matt Hancock that “transparency has been lacking”.

The government first announced plans for the data store in March, in an attempt to track the spread of Covid-19 and how it will impact on the NHS and social care services.

But in an open letter, 27 organisations and advocates said that the plans, based on Microsoft, Google, Palantir, Faculty and Amazon assisting in the development of the data store, would give private partners control over sensitive data.


Related content

 


The signatories, which include Liberty, the Open Knowledge Foundation and Big Brother Watch, warned the “opacity in which these agreements are made does not help [in] building this trust”.

The letter said: “Emergencies require rapid responses, but these responses should also be appropriate, lawful and just. It’s unlikely that the NHS’s current plan to build a large-scale Covid-19 data store meets those principles.  We understand the need for better health information, but maintain that the public should be consulted throughout the development of the datastore and be able to obtain adequate information about the data-sharing agreements in place. “

It added: “We urge the NHS to provide answers to all of the questions below and to not proceed with the development of the data store until the public has had a chance to have their say.”

 

About the author

Liam Kirkaldy is online editor at PublicTechnology sister publication Holyrood, where this story first appeared. He tweets as @HolyroodLiam.

Tags

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

EXCL: Wall of silence surrounds plan for nationwide collection of citizens’ internet records
26 May 2022

Online notice reveals controversial trials are to be expanded into a national service – about which government, law enforcement, watchdogs and all the UK’s major ISPs declined to answer questions...

Government seeks ‘better outcomes’ by linking data on homelessness, crime and addiction
27 June 2022

MoJ-led series of pilot programmes aim to better connect information to improve outcomes for those with complex needs

ICO hits facial recognition firm with £7.5m fine and order to delete all UK data
25 May 2022

Regulator finds that collection of online images was not fair, transparent or lawful

Covid inquiry: Government lawyers sign £23m deals for document disclosure
27 June 2022

Long-term contracts cover data from a range of specified departments