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

    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

  • TECH ELECTION 2010

    PLANS TO DROP OR CHANGE MAJOR GOVERNMENT IT PROJECTS

    Labour: did not answer this question.

    Conservatives: would drop the ID cards scheme; would introduce a moratorium on all planned IT procurement projects; would introduce a presumption against any government IT project costing more than £100m.

    Liberal Democrats: would scrap ID cards and the ContactPoint database, and end plans to store everyone's email and internet records "without good cause".

    Green Party: wants to move from the "monolithic" procurement of proprietary systems towards a "more modular, release-early-and-often open-source approach".

    Pirate Party UK: would drop ID cards and limit the scope of the National Identity Register and the DNA database; would give preference to off-the-shelf software over bespoke software.

    UKIP: did not answer this question.

    BNP: would scrap the National Identity Scheme, the Rural Payments Agency and parts of the Becta Home Access programme.

    SNP: opposes the ID card scheme and points out that ID cards will not be required to access devolved services north of the border.

    Plaid Cymru: would scrap ID cards and the National Identity Register.

    Photo credit: Chris Beaumont/CBS Interactive

  • TECH ELECTION 2010

    BALANCE BETWEEN ONLINE PRIVACY AND COMMERCIAL INTERESTS

    Labour: insists the Digital Economy Act allows for consultation, full parliamentary scrutiny and a robust appeals process.

    Conservatives: welcome the Digital Economy Act; want to educate people about the "wrongs of illegal downloading".

    Liberal Democrats: worry about the lack of safeguards in Digital Economy Act regarding technical measures such as account suspension and bandwidth throttling; oppose the act's website-blocking provisions.

    Green Party: believes existing policy has favoured commercial interests over citizens' rights; supports online privacy and anonymity in all cases except where national security justifies a breach.

    Pirate Party UK: opposes any monitoring of people's internet connections; wants all "secretive surveillance" to be a criminal offence.

    UKIP: opposes the Digital Economy Act, based on the way it was hurried through the legislative process in the pre-election 'wash-up'.

    BNP: supports copyright law but opposes a crackdown on downloaders — thinks uploaders should be targeted instead.

    SNP: wants more collaboration with "global partners" to ensure harmonised laws; favours copyright enforcement but opposes the business secretary being able to amend copyright law without parliamentary scrutiny.

    Plaid Cymru: did not answer this question.

    Photo credit: David Meyer/ZDNet UK

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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