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New UK govt to curb CCTV, scrap ID cards, help open source

Nate Anderson
Ars Technica

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Britain of today is watched constantly by CCTV cameras, is preparing for a national ID card, slaps a “crown copyright” on most government data, and can now censor websites and eventually boot people off the Internet.

According to the new Liberal Democrat/Tory coalition government, that’s all about to change. The coalition today released its unified policy statement [1] (PDF), and for techies and privacy advocates, there’s lots to like.

That last bit about broadband is a change from current Labour policies, which proposed a (hugely unpopular) 50p per month tax on broadband connections to help fund universal broadband infrastructure. The new proposal draws that money from the already-existing TV license fee.

In addition, the Lib Dems have separately pledged to roll back the worst excesses of the recent Digital Economy bill [2] that brought Web censorship and possible Internet disconnection to the UK. At a party conference over the weekend [3], they asked ministers to “take all possible steps to ensure the repeal of those sections of the Digital Economy Act 2010 which are inconsistent with the policy motion ‘Freedom, creativity and the internet [4]‘.”

Full story here. [5]