Among the many factors people look at when deciding who to vote for are the likes of healthcare, education, housing, employment, immigration and welfare. With it being such an important part of our lives, perhaps we should look at what the major parties want to do about the internet too.
With recent data revealing the UK to be a little off the pace in terms of 4G connectivity, and the NHS cyberattack still fresh in the mind, it’s not surprising that parties are mentioning the web, connectivity and cybersecurity in their manifestos for the June 8th general election. We had a look through them to see who’s saying what about the web.
The Conservative Party manifesto primarily addresses connections and security. The Tories say that 95% of business premises in the UK will have superfast broadband by the end of 2017, and all will have a high-speed connection by 2022. Similar promises are made for mobile internet, with a pledge of 95% coverage by 2022 and “guaranteed Wi-Fi” on mainline trains.
In terms of security, the manifesto’s ‘The safest place to be online’ section mentions pushing web companies to tackle the threat of terrorism and educating youngsters on how to use the internet safely and responsibly.
The Labour Party also highlights connectivity in its manifesto, citing a 2022 deadline for “universal superfast broadband” and eventual “uninterrupted 5G coverage.”
The manifesto also highlights the ‘right to be forgotten’, promising that people will be able to easily remove any online content they shared or created before they turned 18. The idea of introducing a “cyber-security charter” is also mentioned in the section on Defence, with cyberattacks identified as a significant threat to the UK in these digital times.
In the Lib Dem manifesto, leader Tim Farron wastes no time in drawing attention to online privacy concerns, noting in his introduction that a state “snooping into their emails” is not what British young people want.
The document also addresses the way internet data is collected in bulk, and preserving the web’s neutrality. Investment in cybersecurity and intelligence is promised, as is a global emphasis on aiding the free flow of information afforded by the internet.
‘Fairness’ is a concept that crops up regularly in the Green Party manifesto, extending to the internet and media. The Greens want no state or corporate surveillance of the internet.
Fiercely anti-Brexit, the Greens also cite the possibility of a second referendum on EU membership, likely meaning documents like the cybersecurity-focused NIS Directive would gain even greater relevance for UK businesses and internet users.
As we’re based close to the Welsh border and have many clients on the other side of it, it seems right to include the Plaid Cymru manifesto.
The party draws attention to “poor digital connectivity” in rural Wales (something that seems to be confirmed by this map) and has committed to “ultra-fast broadband” across the nation, as well as the introduction of 5G.
So, there’s a brief outline of what direction the main parties want the internet to take, and links to their manifestos are included if you would like to find out more. If you were basing it on the internet alone, who would get your vote?