Issue-by-issue: parties' tech policies compared

Issue-by-issue: parties' tech policies compared

Summary: Tech election 2010: having spoken to a range of political parties, ZDNet UK lines up their tech policies on the key issues for a side-by-side view

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TOPICS: Government UK
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  • TECH ELECTION 2010

    LONG-TERM DIGITAL ECONOMY STRATEGY

    Labour: wants super-fast broadband across the country, with a rural roll-out ensured by a 50p levy on landlines.

    Conservatives: want to complement a market-funded rollout of super-fast broadband with money from BBC licence fee; are keen on using ducts and other utilities infrastructure for fibre; want to change business rates for fibre to encourage new entrants.

    Liberal Democrats: support Labour's 50p levy, but with conditions; want remote and rural areas targeted before urban areas; would promote public libraries as part of digital inclusion drive.

    Green Party: would force BT to provide high-speed broadband to entire country; want local community banks to fund small businesses who want to set up online presence.

    Pirate Party UK: wants people to only have to pay for the broadband speed they receive; wants to enforce net neutrality to allow internet start-ups to compete; wants to make ICT learning in schools less program-specific and more security-focused.

    UKIP: opposes state funding for universal high-speed broadband access; opposes the 50p levy; wants local communities rather than central government to pay for a super-fast broadband roll-out where the market fails.

    BNP: wants the UK telecoms infrastructure nationalised; supports the universal service obligation for broadband.

    SNP: is reforming Scottish education to ensure up-to-date skills are taught.

    Plaid Cymru: wants super-fast broadband for Wales; wants compulsory network sharing between mobile phone and broadband operators.

  • TECH ELECTION 2010

    TECHNOLOGY'S ROLE IN GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY AND PUBLIC INTERACTION

    Labour: wants to make a vast amount of public data available in a form that can be easily interrogated; wants to put public services online with a view to eventually withdrawing offline access to some services.

    Conservatives: want to put all major government spending details online; want to create a new "right to government data".

    Liberal Democrats: want to make it easier for people to access public services online.

    Green Party: says the internet has a major part to play in making information more accessible.

    Pirate Party UK: wants all government data made public; would support right of whistleblowers and other critics of government policy to voice concerns online.

    UKIP: wants to use technology to let citizens engage in the democratic process; proposes national and local referenda building on the Number 10 e-petitions model.

    BNP: would give citizens the right to challenge personal data held by the state and private agencies such as credit bureaus.

    SNP: says Scottish government has led the way on transparency through technology; acknowledges that personal interaction is preferable to online services for some citizens.

    Plaid Cymru: points out that the Welsh National Assembly already has computers to let members talk to constituents during debates.

    Photo credit: BISgovUK

  • TECH ELECTION 2010

    OPEN SOURCE IN GOVERNMENT USE

    Labour: wants to publish general-purpose software as open-source "where appropriate"; points to the existing use of open-source software throughout the NHS and departmental websites.

    Conservatives: are keen on open standards as the basis for more modular government IT projects, saying this would create a "level playing-field for open-source IT".

    Liberal Democrats: think government should consider open-source software in all IT procurement, as it can be cheaper than proprietary or bespoke software.

    Green Party: wants free and open-source software used whenever it can be "procured without significant extra costs or other detriments".

    Pirate Party UK: thinks open-source software can play a role, but only where it is the "best tool for the job"; would implement current government's Open Source Action Plan, which it says is being ignored.

    UKIP: would welcome a shift away from "more costly and inflexible" proprietary contracts to open-source software.

    BNP: wants software to be chosen primarily on basis of security; otherwise, supports open source when cost-effective and beneficial for education.

    SNP: opposes a preference for either open-source or proprietary software, arguing instead for the best-value package to be chosen at the time; notes cost of supporting open-source software; also notes unreliability of proprietary software in many large organisations.

    Plaid Cymru: did not answer this question.

    Photo credit: Microsoft

Topic: Government UK

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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