Many British readers of OxGadgets will be heading to the polls on Thursday this week to vote for the party of their choice. There are so many hot topics covered in the manifestos and plenty of voters will be on information overload but if you’re a fan of this site, it means you’re probably very tech savvy and concerned about how the election result will affect your digital life. So, here is a quick summary of what the main parties are proposing in terms of tech issues.
Technology takes centre stage as one of the “five giant challenges” they hope to address. There’s going to be a digital charter which includes allowing those over 18 years of age to delete whatever they posted online while they were a child.
There is also an intention here to make Britain the best place to start and run a digital business and one of the safest places in the world to use the Internet. There’s talk of regulating the Internet, although how that plan will be executed is not completely clear but they intend to remove content that is in breach of UK law.
There Tories also plan to give online consumers the same rights they have on the high street. There’s talk of new institutes being established in England that will provide university level courses in STEM subjects.
There’s also a promise to bring 5G to everyone by 2027 which is ambitious considering nobody has 5G yet.
One thing that will appeal to those concerned about global warming is they are pledging £600million by 2020 toward getting every car and van on the road to have zero emissions by 2050.
Jeremy Corbyn’s party are making similar proposals about allowing us to delete information we posted before the age of 18. They also have intentions to tackle online abuse but it looks like that is just for children. Adults being subjected to online abuse aren’t mentioned.
Labour also hope to appoint a digital ambassador to work with tech companies. There are promises to improve broadband services and roll out 5G, which again is going to be a challenge since nobody has it yet. Labour are also going to bring Wi-Fi to all libraries.
They also hope to tackle the regulation of companies such as Uber and Deliveroo by updating employment laws to reflect the rise of such companies. They also want to tackle the way creative industries are treated by those who own the sites that sell their work and ensure they are fairly compensated for their work.
Tim Farron’s party are putting forward some different ideas when it comes to technology. They are encouraging a swift take-up of driverless cars, something that nobody else has mentioned.
There’s also a start-up allowance being proposed which will pay the living expenses of entrepreneurs while they get their businesses off the ground. Since many businesses launching in 2017 are operating online, this could affect lots of bloggers, web designers, network marketers and let’s face it, anyone with a website. This hasn’t been fully explained so the extent of the costs they are willing to cover is not yet clear but it’s something that will possibly encourage entrepreneurship in the UK.
The other difference between their manifesto and that of some others is that the Lib Dems actually want to protect our rights to privacy on apps such as Whatsapp as opposed to doing away with encryption and they plan to roll back surveillance rights to give the public the privacy to use these apps without them being watched.
One of UKIP’s proposals is that they will scrap tuition fees for STEM subjects, leaving the door open for talented and ambitious individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to reach their full potential in these fields. But there’s a catch! They must work in their field after graduating and pay tax in the UK for five years after completing their studies.
UKIP are also proposing to use smarter technology to count people in and out of the country at the borders and this will apply to all passport and visa holders.
They are also promising to consider the prospect of new legislation to control the cyber bullying issues of children and teens. Once again, there is no mention of help for adults who are subjected to online abuse.
The Green Party are also proposing to support start-up businesses but with investment and community credit which, on the face of it, could be good news for new bloggers or those starting online businesses. However, it’s not clear if these proposals apply to all start-ups so online businesses might not be covered.
Their promise to scrap all tuition fees would bring fresh talent into the STEM subjects and there doesn’t appear to be a clause stating that those who study these subjects must work in their field after graduating or pay UK tax for a specified period.
They also have plans to promote ecologically sustainable development in poorer countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.
Like many other parties, they are committed to rolling out high-speed broadband and 5G mobile signals for everyone. Other than that, there isn’t much mention of technology apart from a promise to keep Wales at the forefront of tidal wave technology developments.
No mention of help for online businesses and all help for small businesses is focused on those in town centres.
There is a tiny section on two of the pages of their manifesto about how they have brought high speed internet access to rural areas and another paragraph about their plans to deliver super-fast internet access to 100% of homes by 2021. There was a mention of connectivity, but on closer inspection it turned out this was about transport links rather than connecting Scotland to the rest of the world via technology.
The main parties have to appeal to a diverse range of people and have a lot of issues to address but the lack of attention to technology and online issues from some parties is disappointing and a sign that many politicians are seriously underestimating the importance of our digital lives. Will the proposals made regarding tech issues influence how you vote?