This has not been well publicised so that people can choose before it’s too late (a few weeks time).
Read more on medConfidential about why or go straight to the letter (which you can download and take to your GP).
I am not opposed to sharing of health data in principle but at this point in time I am opposed to my personal records being shared.
Such processes, Bates (2013) argues, are part of a deliberate political strategy to open up the “provision of almost all public services to competition from private and third sector providers”, with open data about public services enabling “service users to make informed choices within a market for public services based on data-driven applications produced by a range of commercial and non-commercial developers” (original emphasis). In such cases, the transparency agenda promoted by politicians and businesses is merely a rhetorical discursive device. If either party was genuinely interested in transparency then it would be equally supportive of the right to information movement (freedom of information) and the work of whistleblowers (Janssen 2012) and also loosening the shackles of intellectual property rights more broadly (Shah 2013). Instead, governments and businesses are generally resistant to both.1
This wider purpose of deepening the exploitation of social risks for private gain raises significant political economy issues, since it increases the private financial stake that powerful economic actors have in system instabilities such as climate change. And, like other cases of commercial re-use of OGD, there are questions to ask about whether – and, if so, to what extent – the state should in effect be subsidising commerce and industry through the (free) provision of such economically valuable data.
There are other drivers as well behind the government’s interest in OGD. These include a desire to generate trust from citizens through transparency and to boost the digital start-up economy (both perhaps overstated as likely outcomes of opening up public data). However, these two examples suggest that, in order to grasp more clearly the potential political significance of OGD, we do need to have a deeper understanding of the range of political and economic interests actively shaping the domain and the whole debate about re-using public data.2
1. Kitchin R (2013) Four critiques of open data initiatives,LSE blog, available at http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2013/11/27/four-critiques-of-open-data-initiatives/
2. Bates J (2013) Opening up public data, SPERI, University of Sheffield, available at: http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/2013/05/21/opening-public-data/