The gall of Julian Huppert and the LibDems beggars belief. Computer Weekly report that he is campaigning for a Digital Bill of Rights to be included in the LibDem manifesto. I covered his intervention at OrgCon14 earlier this year. The LibDems have a serious problem in that they made a number of promises which they have broken, most obviously on tuition fees, but others have problems with some of the government reforms on welfare, the bedrom tax, and judicial administration, the introduction of secret courts for cases involving intelligence material. In the policy area of surveillance and digital politics, the LibDems are not as strong as they might like. The computer weekly article states that Huppert is looking to mandate encryption and ban “revenge porn”.
I have argued that a comprehensive charter involves addressing citizenship in the internet age, equality before the law, citizen privacy & fair copyright. The LibDems record doesn’t measure well against these four tests. Huppert and the LibDems have supported the government in extending the surveillance powers of the security services, they were complicit in the passage of the Digital Economy Act during the last parliament and voted for the introduction of secret courts in this one; both ‘reforms’ diminish the right to a fair trial. Clegg’s promises on repeal of the Digital Economy Act were as categoric as his promises on tuition fees.
On digital liberty, the issue that Hupert hopes is his personal and party’s trump card, their record is wanting and their promises of little value.