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LibDems offer a digital bill of rights



A digital bill of rights 'to define and enshrine the digital rights" of the citizen will be among the offerings from the Liberal Democrats in the next general election, the party indicated this week.

The coalition partner kicked off the party conference season by publishing a 'pre manifesto' for the next parliament, including several references to current digital policy issues.

Promising a new "freedoms bill", the manifesto says: "We need to control excessive state power, and ensure that in an era when surveillance is easier than ever before, we maintain the right to privacy, free speech, and open justice." The bill will "protect citizens from excessive state powers and improve rights of access to information".

A LibDem government would also back the principle of net neutrality and "safeguard the essential freedom of the internet while ensuring the reasonable protection of individuals and businesses".

Joining up health and care services - where consistent with "devolution on demand" and "a bottom up" approach "suiting the needs of local communities" - is another theme. "We need services which fit around people's lives, not ones which force them to fit their lives around the care they need," the manifesto says. "This means moving away from a fragmented system which patients have to navigate their way around, to an integrated service with more joined up care."

Some policies imply a change to existing government tax and spending plans, the manifesto concedes. It promises "a more detailed costings assessment nearer to the time of the general election".


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