...that tip the balance further in the interests of, for example, monolithic distributors who are unable to adapt their business model to the internet. Privacy and anonymity should be guaranteed unless there is a clear reason relating to national security to breach it.
What is your e-health policy and will it include contracting patient data out to third parties?
The Green Party would support the use of e-health to improve access by patients to their own clinical records. We support the use of telemedicine to enable clinical care to be delivered at a distance, reducing the need to travel and making best use of clinician's time. We are keen to see the ability of patients and carer to access good online advice on health issues improved further, making better use of NHS Direct.
However, we are very aware that the elderly and more vulnerable members of society often have less access to online services and we need to ensure that any improvements in access to care through e-health do not disadvantage this important group.
We are opposed to the contracting out of data management to third parties. Even with the best information-governance arrangements, there are clear and unnecessary risks associated with doing this. We would want patient's clinical data to be held and managed by the organisations delivering their care.
Which major government IT projects would you drop or change, and why?
Where feasible, we would seek to move from monolithic procurement of proprietary systems towards a more modular, release-early-and-often open-source approach. This would reduce risk, potentially save money and reduce the need for further centralisation of the state.
Privacy and anonymity should be guaranteed unless there is a clear reason relating to national security to breach it.
What measures would you put in place to ensure that businesses and organisations better protect their customers' data and inform customers of data breaches?
We would first reduce the pressures from public agencies to retain and release the extraordinary levels of personal information they process by amending the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act, and by cracking down on the practice of public and private third parties intercepting or monitoring our communications.
We would secondly strengthen data protection laws to support subject access requests, introduce tougher penalties for companies who don't fully comply and who fail to notify customers of breaches and their implications, and give the Information Commissioner more teeth to bear down on excessive and abusive use of personal data.
What is your policy on new or existing measures to protect the critical national infrastructure?
The Green Party's emphasis is on decentralisation, security and data protection, facilitated by an open source approach, would reduce the risks associated with particular parts of the infrastructure failing or being damaged.
We believe that projects such as the highly centralised computerisation of the NHS create unnecessary risks, and that approaches such as moving to a further decentralised, 'smart' grid will reduce risks.