Tag: government (page 1 of 2)

UK government adviser warns against plans to force the NHS to share data with police forces

It’s entirely unsurprising that governments should seek to use the pandemic as cover for hoovering up data about its citizens. However, it’s up to us to resist this.

Plans to force the NHS to share confidential data with police forces across England are “very problematic” and could see patients giving false information to doctors, the government’s data watchdog has warned.

[…]

Dr Nicola Byrne also warned that emergency powers brought in to allow the sharing of data to help tackle the spread of Covid-19 could not run on indefinitely after they were extended to March 2022.

Dr Byrne, 46, who has had a 20-year career in mental health, also warned against the lack of regulation over the way companies were collecting, storing and sharing patient data via health apps.

She told The Independent she had raised concerns with the government over clauses in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which is going through the House of Lords later this month.

The legislation could impose a duty on NHS bodies to disclose private patient data to police to prevent serious violence and crucially sets aside a duty of confidentiality on clinicians collecting information when providing care.

Dr Byrne said doing so could “erode trust and confidence, and deter people from sharing information and even from presenting for clinical care”.

She added that it was not clear what exact information would be covered by the bill: “The case isn’t made as to why that is necessary. These things need to be debated openly and in public.”

Source: Plans to hand over NHS data to police sparks warning from government adviser | The Independent

On the dangers of CBDCs

I can’t remember the last time I used cash. Or rather, I can (for my son’s haircut) because it was so unusual; it’s been about 18 months since my default wasn’t paying via the Google Pay app on my smartphone.

As a result, and because I also have played around with buying, selling, and holding cryptocurrencies, that a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) would be a benign thing. Sadly, as Edward Snowden explains, they really are not. His latest article is well worth a read in its entirety.

Rather, I will tell you what a CBDC is NOT—it is NOT, as Wikipedia might tell you, a digital dollar. After all, most dollars are already digital, existing not as something folded in your wallet, but as an entry in a bank’s database, faithfully requested and rendered beneath the glass of your phone.

Neither is a Central Bank Digital Currency a State-level embrace of cryptocurrency—at least not of cryptocurrency as pretty much everyone in the world who uses it currently understands it.

Instead, a CBDC is something closer to being a perversion of cryptocurrencyor at least of the founding principles and protocols of cryptocurrency—a cryptofascist currency, an evil twin entered into the ledgers on Opposite Day, expressly designed to deny its users the basic ownership of their money and to install the State at the mediating center of every transaction.

Source: Your Money and Your Life – by Edward Snowden – Continuing Ed — with Edward Snowden

Subsidising trains via a tax on internal flights?

My wife flew down to a work meetup (and to see her family) last week. She got the train back. The flight was about £40, and the train about five times that.

At around seven hours, that journey would have been exempt from these plans, but it’s illustrative of how passengers are currently economically encouraged to destroy the environment.

The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) called on ministers to outlaw internal UK flights if an equivalent train journey took less than five hours and to resist calls for any cut in air passenger duty.

Mandatory emissions labels on tickets and a frequent flyer levy should also be introduced, the charity said.

The demands came before the 27 October budget, in which the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, may decide to cut taxes on domestic flights in response to pressure from the aviation industry, a possibility mooted by the prime minister earlier this year. Such a move could, however, prove an embarrassment a week before the UK hosts the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow.

[…]

Paul Tuohy, the chief executive of CBT said: “Cheap domestic flights might seem a good deal when you buy them, but they are a climate disaster, generating seven times more harmful greenhouse emissions than the equivalent train journey.

“Making the ​train cheaper will boost passenger numbers and help reduce emissions from aviation, but any cut to air passenger duty – coupled with a rise in rail fares in January – will send the wrong message about how the government wants people to travel and mean more people choosing to fly.”

Source: Ban UK domestic flights and subsidise rail travel, urges transport charity | The Guardian