HRBDT Weekly News Circular

By Sabrina Rau

Each week the Human Rights, Big Data & Technology Project, based at the University of Essex Human Rights Centre, prepares an overview of related news stories from the week. This summary contains news articles from 22 December 2018 – 4 January 2019.

You can follow the HRBDT Project on twitter: @hrbdtNews.

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HRBDT Weekly News Circular

By Katerina Hadjimatheou

Each week the Human Rights, Big Data & Technology Project, based at the University of Essex Human Rights Centre, prepares an overview of related news stories from the week. This summary contains news articles from 17-21 December 2018.

You can follow the HRBDT Project on twitter: @hrbdtNews.

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UN austerity and human rights report highlights Big Data risks in the UK

By Carmel Williams

Big Data and artificial intelligence are, perhaps surprisingly, a featured highlight in the UN expert’s report on extreme poverty in the UK. Technology is frequently proffered as a solution to poverty and other social rights failings (see for example the recent Astana Declaration on Primary Health Care). However, Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, focuses instead on its potential to erode democracy.

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An End to PFI/PF2- Implications for the Right to Health

By Amy Dickens

On 29thOctober 2018, Philip Hammond delivered a Conservative Budget declaring an end to austerity and outlining plans for a post-Brexit economy. Amidst his speech was the announcement that the government will finally end the Private Finance Initiative (PFI/PF2) on the basis of ‘compelling evidence’ that it does not deliver value for money or transfer risk to the private sector, as proclaimed by the Conservatives and their political predecessors.

Hammond also stated the government’s commitment to honouring its existing contracts. What the Chancellor omitted is the scale of the legacy PFI leaves behind; the 700 existing PFI and PF2 deals will cost the taxpayer an estimated £199 billion by the 2040s. These staggering costs, and the political opacity surrounding PFI, have attracted expert criticism and public outrage. I argue, however, that the PFI saga amounts to more than just an administrative scandal; it is an egregious violation of the rights of UK citizens. Continue reading