/>
X

Issue-by-issue: parties' tech policies compared

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
david-meyer.jpg
By David Meyer on
techelectionitindustry.jpg
1 of 9 Tom Espiner/ZDNet UK

TECH ELECTION 2010

PROMOTING AND STRENGTHENING THE UK TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY

Labour: sees web science, particularly the semantic web, as an area where the UK can be a world leader.

Conservatives: see super-fast broadband as the driver for a stronger tech industry.

Liberal Democrats: want to see improved education in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths; propose Local Enterprise Funds to provide seed capital for start-ups.

Green Party: wants to boost the renewable energy industry; wants to see an increase in the UK's high-tech manufacturing base as a way to reduce the country's dependence on the financial services industry.

Pirate Party UK: sees the abolition of software patents as a way of spurring rapid change in the development industry; sees "overly-broad" hardware patents as disincentives to effective competition.

UKIP: did not answer this question.

BNP: wants to set up technology universities so as to make the UK less reliant on "importing foreigners" for IT work.

SNP: wants a tax break for the computer games industry.

Plaid Cymru: has a laptops-for-kids policy to ensure IT literacy; wants sustainable jobs associated with new technologies.

techelectionfibrebroadband.jpg
2 of 9 David Meyer/ZDNet

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.

techelectionpublicinteraction.jpg
3 of 9 BISgovUK

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.

techelectionopensource.jpg
4 of 9 Microsoft

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.

idcardtechelection.jpg
5 of 9 Chris Beaumont/CBS Interactive

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.

techelectionprivacydemonstration.jpg
6 of 9 David Meyer/ZDNet UK

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.

techelectionehealth.jpg
7 of 9 David Meyer/ZDNet

TECH ELECTION 2010

E-HEALTH POLICIES AND CONTRACTING PATIENT DATA OUT TO THIRD PARTIES

Labour: says the NHS could no longer function without the National Programme for IT (NPfIT); promises to cut the costs of the programme.

Conservatives: want patients to have greater control over their records.

Liberal Democrats: did not answer this question.

Green Party: wants patients to have access to own records; supports use of telemedicine; sees contracting-out patient data to third parties as unnecessarily risky.

Pirate Party UK: supports a national NHS database if correctly implemented; supports the contracting-out of data by individual hospitals, as long as it is secure and patients give consent.

UKIP: opposes the NHS Spine on the basis of patient privacy.

BNP: strongly opposes the contracting-out of data to third parties; supports NPfIT but wants a review of it.

SNP: is very keen on the use of e-health in remote and rural areas; opposes the contracting-out of patient data to third parties.

Plaid Cymru: has no specific e-health policy.

techelectiondatabreach.jpg
8 of 9 David Meyer/ZDNet

TECH ELECTION 2010

DATA PROTECTION AND BREACH NOTIFICATION

Labour: says it has made sure civil servants and suppliers know about encryption and their responsibilities in protecting personal data.

Conservatives: want the information commissioner and private sector to consider an industry-wide kitemark system of best practice for data security.

Liberal Democrats: did not answer this question.

Green Party: wants tougher penalties for organisations that do not comply with data protection laws; wants to give more power to the information commissioner.

Pirate Party UK: sees the Data Protection Act (DPA) as "woefully inadequate"; wants to set a minimum level of security for all personal data held; wants a new right to compensation for data loss; wants data protection to be a criminal rather than civil matter.

UKIP: did not answer this question.

BNP: wants to amend the DPA to introduce more severe penalties for breaching data protection laws; draws on own experience of leaked membership list as example of "slap-on-the-wrist" punishment.

SNP: wants data protection enforcement to be devolved from Westminster to Scotland; wants speedier data breach notifications.

Plaid Cymru: did not answer this question.

techelectioninfrastructuresoldierskeyboard.jpg
9 of 9 David Meyer/ZDNet

TECH ELECTION 2010

PROTECTING THE CRITICAL NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Labour: says most attacks are foiled by firewalls, antivirus software and other "good practice" security measures; points to the role of the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI).

Conservatives: want to establish a new Cyber Threat and Assessment Centre.

Liberal Democrats: have no plans to change role of the CPNI; want to promote business continuity plans in the private sector.

Green Party: sees decentralisation, open source and the development of the 'smart grid' as reducing infrastructural risk.

Pirate Party UK: wants more funding for GCHQ and the security services to ensure critical infrastructure security; is keen on a decentralised national network; wants UK to help other countries protect their own, more vulnerable critical national infrastructures.

UKIP: did not answer this question.

BNP: believes the national infrastructure can only be secured by renationalising the telecoms network.

SNP: sees opportunities for Scotland in protecting the critical national infrastructure, with renewable-energy-powered datacentres handling the storage and protection of data; is concerned over domain registry management provisions in the Digital Economy Act.

Plaid Cymru: did not answer this question.

Related Galleries

Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6: Electric vehicle extravaganza
img-8825

Related Galleries

Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6: Electric vehicle extravaganza

26 Photos
A weekend with Google's Chrome OS Flex
img-9792-2

Related Galleries

A weekend with Google's Chrome OS Flex

22 Photos
Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup
shutterstock-1024665187.jpg

Related Galleries

Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup

8 Photos
Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'
Full of promises!

Related Galleries

Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'

8 Photos
Hybrid working, touchscreen MacBook hopes, cybersecurity concerns, and more: ZDNet's tech research roundup
Asian woman working at a desk in front of a computer and calculator

Related Galleries

Hybrid working, touchscreen MacBook hopes, cybersecurity concerns, and more: ZDNet's tech research roundup

8 Photos
Developer trends, zero-day risks, 5G speeds, and more: Tech research roundup
Person seated at a booth in a cafe looks at their phone and laptop.

Related Galleries

Developer trends, zero-day risks, 5G speeds, and more: Tech research roundup

10 Photos
Drive Electric Day: A dizzying array of EVs in sunny Florida
ca3b4019-26c5-4ce0-a844-5aac39e2c34b.jpg

Related Galleries

Drive Electric Day: A dizzying array of EVs in sunny Florida

16 Photos