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Tories put ID cards, Contactpoint on manifesto hit list

Decentralised techie state is the aim

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Second, they intend to use the power of new technology to open up government: for instance, all items of spending over £25,000 would be published online, as well as the salaries of senior civil servants in central government. Tendering will go online.

These are details: what emerges from the manifesto is the image of a party that finally "gets it" with respect to the internet and understands how to get the best out of it.

A Conservative government would create a powerful new right to government data, enabling the public to request – and receive – government datasets in an open and standardised format. Open source would no longer be shunned, but treated as a valuable ally when it comes to development of government services.

On individual rights, the Conservative proposals may cause purists to shudder, given that they intend to replace the Human Rights Act with a UK Bill of Rights. On the other hand, proposals likely to find favour are a cutting back of intrusive powers of entry into homes, reduced surveillance powers, Privacy Impact Assessments for any proposal that involves data collection or sharing and full Parliamentary scrutiny of any new powers of data-sharing.

They will strengthen the powers of the Information Commissioner to penalise any public body found guilty of mismanaging data.

The Conservatives are against the indefinite retention of innocent people’s DNA, and they will change the guidance to give people on the DNA database who have been wrongly accused of a minor crime an automatic right to have their DNA withdrawn.

They will review and reform libel laws "to protect freedom of speech, reduce costs and discourage libel tourism".

In the end, though, the over-arching theme is a view that wherever possible, personal data should be controlled by individual citizens themselves. ®

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